Teenagers 'own six digital devices', survey suggests

Teenagers with their iPads Young people increasingly use technology for school work

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The average UK teenager owns six digital devices and posts pictures and information online, a survey says.

With most using mobile gadgets, it may not be long before youngsters see "always-on connectivity" as a right, the poll for IT firm Logicalis says.

Some 28% of the 1,004 13- to 17-year-olds questioned feel ICT is key to their future career, it says.

Three-quarters expect the country to update its devices and technology to keep up with their generation's habits.

The research, designed to establish what it calls the "digital footprint" of young people today, suggests they understand the value of a digital future.

Their subject choices suggest they are already considering pursuing careers in this field, with ICT and the sciences coming out in the top four most important subjects.

TEEN'S TOP DIGITAL DEVICES

  • Smartphone
  • Television
  • Laptop
  • Games console
  • MP3/iPod
  • Digital camera

But the research says: "A knowledge economy and a workforce that utilises its digital-first attributes to increase productivity will not happen by itself."

It is "no surprise" that young people "think UK plc needs to evolve traditional working and learning practices, to enable their productivity through the use of digital tools and behaviours", it says.

And it adds that "nurturing this generation's digital capabilities could bring significant economic value to UK plc and increase the UK's competitiveness in the international market".

"The challenge is whether we can implement change - in our education system and the workplace quickly enough to sustain this generation's interest in the professions and industries that give Britain its competitive edge," it adds.

The poll showed that 84% of the teenagers polled own a smartphone, 78% a laptop and 51% a tablet device.

'Generation of coders'

And with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter coming in as the top three apps being used, the survey suggests two-thirds are creating and actively sharing their own videos and content.

"It's clear that this generation are more than just consumers of digital content, they are also creators.

"However that does not necessarily mean we have a generation of coders and IT developers in our midst," it adds.

One in 10 of the boys polled have created an app, the poll says, whereas a third of all of those polled would like to.

The research calls for this generation's interest in coding to be harnessed now and says England's new computer science curriculum may aid this.

Ministers scrapped the previous computer curriculum and are planning to introduce a new one in 2014, which will focus more on the creation of technology and less on its use.

But the report goes on to ask whether the the nation is ready for such a digital-savvy generation.

The Department for Education spokesman said: "We agree that computing is vital for the economy, alongside traditional core subjects including English, maths and science.

"That is why our rigorous new computing curriculum will raise standards and give children the skills and knowledge they need to compete with their peers from around the world."

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