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Teens top the tech-savvy chart while adults lag behind

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If you’re a parent to a teenager this may already be patently obvious, but a new survey has revealed that 14-15 year-olds are the most tech-savvy age group of our generation. The research also found that 6 year-olds had a better understanding of communications technology than those aged over 45.

The study was carried out by British telecommunications regulator Ofcom and involved 2,800 participants. Each of the respondents was given a ‘Digital Quotient’ score — a little bit like an IQ level — to work out just how confident they were with apps, gadgets and modern-day tech. With the average DQ score set at 100, tech-savviness peaks at 113 for ages 14 to 15 and drops to 80 for those aged over 75.

Related: Study says that teenage texts = teenage sex

Kids aged 6-7 achieved an average DQ score of 96, and the average score stays above 100 until the age of 35 when it begins to drop off. There’s a particularly steep fall from the age of 60. Ofcom is hoping to use the research to enable better education and improved resources for older people wanting to make use of the Web and the latest gadgets on the market.


The research also found that communication habits are constantly shifting as a result of changes in technology. For 12-15 year-olds in the UK, just 3 percent of their time is spent making voice calls, with 94 percent of communications based around text. In contrast, 20 percent of UK adults’ communications time is still spent talking over the phone.

Another interesting statistic is that the survey group spent more time using media and communications services each day (8 hours 41 minutes) than they spent sleeping (8 hours 21 minutes). This may be a small sample of Brits, but it points towards the impact that always-on communications and on-demand streaming are having on our lives.

“Our research shows that a ‘millennium generation’ is shaping communications habits for the future,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, in a press release. “While children and teenagers are the most digitally-savvy, all age groups are benefitting from new technology. The convenience and simplicity of smartphones and tablets are helping us cram more activities into our daily lives.”

It’s worth reading through the survey results in full as there’s plenty of eye-opening statistics to consider. There’s also a simplified online Digital Quotient test that you can take yourself to see how well you score.

[Image: Monkey Business Images /]

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