Technology causing new generation gap

According to a new study commissioned by Vodafone, parents feel they are being left behind by the rate at which technology is accelerating, and that there’s a generation divide being created as a result. They also wish that schools would make more effort with tech homework assignments that could include parents, and bring them and kids together in working on digital devices.

This research comes off the back of Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, which measured the “digital quotient” or tech-savviness of different age ranges, and found that six-year-olds had a slightly higher score than 45-year-olds (98 versus 96).

Vodafone’s survey, which was carried out by The Parent Zone and took in the opinions of 1000 parents, found that 63 percent of respondents said the rate at which technology is progressing is widening the generation gap, and changing the way children communicate. Again, Ofcom showed the latter to be the case in its report, with 12 to 15-year-olds having the vast majority of their communication (94 percent) carried out via texts or instant messages, and phone calls represented just 3 percent.

A third of parents said that they wished they had more experience of using technology to be creative, in order to better join in with their offspring’s tech exploits. 50 percent of parents said their children spent over three hours per week using digital technology, and 37 percent said five hours or more.

20 percent of respondents said they found it difficult to share digital experiences with their children, such as creating or sharing a video or art.

Some parents – one in five, in fact – were critical of schools, and felt that they failed to give children homework which encourages the kids to spend time using technology with their parents.

The upshot of this is that the Vodafone Foundation has joined forces with The Parent Zone to double the print run of its Digital Parenting Guide, meaning another 60,000 copies will be made available to schools and other public organisations this year.

If you want to take a look at it now, you can find the guide online here. Vodafone has also pledged to create further resources for schools and parents this autumn, to get the latter and their kids involved in co-creation via homework.

Vicki Shotbolt, Founder and CEO of The Parent Zone, commented: “Helping parents to share digital experiences with their children is a great way to bridge the digital divide. Vodafone has led the way in helping families to enjoy technology safely together, and we are now delighted to be working with them on this new initiative, designed to get children and parents creating more digital memories together.”

“There is a great opportunity for schools to help parents and children bridge the digital divide and we look forward to equipping schools with what they need to facilitate this.”