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Gadget Girls Lead British Digital Youth

The UK's kids are a nation of bloggers, PDA owners and all-round technophiles - particularly the fairer sex - according to a study into children's digital literacy from Ofcom.

The communications watchdog found that UK children between the ages of eight and 15 have access to a range of digital media and are making use of it.

Seventy-two per cent of youngsters have access to digital TV, watching an average of 14 hours of telly per week, while around 65 per cent of kids have access to a mobile phone, whether it's their own or their parents' mobile. The 10th birthday is a watershed in terms of mobile phone ownership, an Ofcom spokesman told "Around the 10th birthday, there's a big jump." Newer technology is also getting a hold on children's imagination, with around 20 per cent creating a website or maintaining a blog. A similar number of kids between the ages of 12 and 15 own an MP3 player, while two per cent claim to have a PDA.

The UK's junior technophiles don't conform to the 'boys only' stereotype. Girls are more likely to use mobile and internet services as well as digital TV and radio than boys, and they're also more likely to use the web as a reference when doing homework.

The only digital media more likely to be used by boys than girls is games consoles.

The Ofcom report also found that much of the UK's digital youth is going unsupervised by less tech-savvy parents: around 70 per cent of young internet users are able to surf the web without parental monitoring.

Ofcom's spokesman said: "Children's competence levels in digital media are higher than their parents'. A lot of parents rely on trust and establishing house rules [to protect their children]."


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