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Children 'tech-savvy' by age nine
On average, children are given permission to make mobile phone calls aged eight years and five months old, a poll found
Britain's youngsters are being given permission to surf the internet unsupervised and make mobile phone calls before they are allowed to travel to school alone, a survey suggests.
The poll reveals that today's children are technologically savvy by the time they are nine years old.
On average, youngsters are allowed to make mobile phone calls at eight years and five months old, according to the June poll of 1,005 parents of children aged under 16.
They use the internet without adult supervision when they are nine years and one month old, sending their first email at the same age.
A month later is when children send their first text message, while the average age when they first had their own email address was nine years and seven months.
This is the same as the average age when children are allowed to travel to school on their own, according to the poll by the ESET UK security firm. It also reveals that children are nine years and eight months old when they first own a mobile phone, and open a social network account at 10 years and eight months.
And youngsters are likely to have a TV in their room when they are six years and eight months old - two months before they learn to do joined-up handwriting.
At the same time, two thirds (68%) of the parents questioned said that children today are exposed to technology too early, and three in four said that they worry that their children are at risk when they are online.
ESET UK security expert Quinton Watts said parents need to make online safety a top priority. "Many parents think their child is safe if they are in the family home, but if they're online - especially if they're unsupervised or on a computer in their bedroom - then they are exposed to threats just as severe and real as those in the real world," he said.
"Our research shows just how fast children are growing up in our technology-saturated world. They are now used to having access to everything at the click of a button, even at a very young age, before they've gone through some of the rites of passage moments we remember from our own childhood."