For Chinese kids and parents, there is a digital generation gap: report

A report has found that Chinese kids are more adept at handling digital devices than their parents. A 14-year-old student is better at using the internet than his parents, reported on Jan 11.

A “digital generation gap” has formed between Chinese children and their parents, said the report about Chinese children’s (between age 3 and 14) internet capability in the 2016-2017 period, released by China National Youth Palace Association on Thursday.

Chinese children are using the internet at an earlier age, and as a result, their proficiency is rising fast. The report came to this conclusion after analyzing 110,000 online questionnaires.

The report has also offered guidance to parents, helping them to better deal with children who are addicted to video games. It is the first paper of its kind in the country.

However, parents lag behind their children’s online capabilities, the report found. About 43.6 percent of 14-year-olds said they know more about the internet than their parents, and 63 percent of the parents agreed.

For children aged seven, the internet is a source of fun. About 8.5 percent of seven-year-olds said they have shopped online, 16.7 percent said they have uploaded pictures and images, and 4.1 percent said they have their own followers.

For kids aged between three and six, 29.1 percent are using the internet for no less than 30 minutes a day, and that duration increases as they grow older.

The more prevalence and proficiency of the internet among children is deepening the generation gap, experts warn. This gap is not good for the parent-child relationship, or for children’s online safety.

Zhang Haibo, director of the Children’s Media Literacy Education Research Center of the China National Youth Palace Association, suggests parents monitor their children’s online activities, enhance children’s awareness about cyber security, adapt ways of educating their kids, and keep up with their kids in internet knowledge.