by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Confession: All of my children, ages 8, 7, 4 and 1, wear velcro shoes and it isn't because Forrest Gump is their style icon. They can't tie their shoes. There, I said it out loud. It isn't for lack of teaching moments, but rather what I've been using those teaching moments for, as evidenced by my two oldest sons texting me to remind me that they only like their peppers raw and sliced. (We won't talk about the fact they were texting me from the living room while I stood 20 feet away in the kitchen.)
What kind of kids have the manual dexterity and know-how to text on their daddy's smartphone but can't wear Chuck T's to save their lives? A lot of them apparently! According to the security firm AVG, 19 percent of kids ages two to five can use a smartphone but only 9 percent can make the bunny run around the tree or whatever it is we're using these days to teach kids to tie their shoes. (Maybe that's our problem - bad analogies ruin everything!)
It doesn't end there, kids in the US, Japan, Australia, Europe and New Zealand were more proficient in computer games than bike riding and were better at web browsing than swimming.
At first glance, this sounds like a good reason to bring out the parental righteous indignation. Obesity epidemic fears aside, swimming is a life-saving skill. Bejeweled is not. But I think this study is actually a good sign. In our technology dependent culture it is as much of a survival skill to be able to use a cell phone as it is to ride a bike, perhaps more so. Plus, children with their billions of extra neurons are in the prime position to pick up and master these new skills.
I saw the Helvetica typing on the wall a few years ago when my 10-year-old sister was the only one in our household to know how to reset the satellite dish and work the DVR. A quick survey of other parents brought up more examples:
"My 20-month-old daughter knows how to scroll through pictures on my phone." - Ted
"My second grader syncs my phone and laptop for me!" - Jennifer
"My 8-year-old is teaching me how to use our Google TV and my 6-year-old figured out the password to my iPad and is using it to play games right now." - Amy
For the record, my kids can all swim and browse the Internet. (Although not at the same time.) Now, if I could just get them to tie their shoes. Is there an app for that?
What do you think of this study? Does it ring true for your family? How old are your kids and what technology do they use?
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the new book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything.
photo credit: Melissa McManus/Getty
More from REDBOOK:
Could You Go a Week Without Yelling?
Have the Hottest Sex of Your Life…with Your Husband
- 6 Shocking Reasons Why Men Stray
- Get a Flat Tummy in 2 Minutes
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Connect with REDBOOK:
- Become our Fan on Facebook
- Sign Up for REDBOOK's Free Weekly Newsletter
- Follow Us on Twitter
- Enter to Win FREE Daily Prizes
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.