COMPUTER SAVVY: Jane Thomson with her daughters (from left) Eloise Payne, 9, Sabrina Payne, 7 and Josephine Payne, 2. Ms Thomson has strict limits on the amount of screen time her daughters have each day.
COMPUTER SAVVY: Jane Thomson with her daughters (from left) Eloise Payne, 9, Sabrina Payne, 7 and Josephine Payne, 2. Ms Thomson has strict limits on the amount of screen time her daughters have each day. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Gen Next captured by net

BABIES could soon be learning to crawl by looking on the internet, if the latest statistics on internet usage among children are anything to go by.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released this week show 90% of children between five and 14 are now using the internet, up from 65% in 2006.

The internet is now a major feature of primary education, with 2.2 million children using the internet at school.

This reflects ABS figures, which show 90% of children's internet usage is for educational purposes - but 65% (also) use the net for online games.

Jane Thomson, mother of three girls aged nine, seven, and two, said she was amazed at her daughters' computer skills.

Ms Thomson runs an online business from home, so her children often see her working on the computer.

She's put parental controls on their internet browsers and imposed strict limits on the amount of "screen time" the children have each day.

Yet that hasn't stopped them having an "incredible knowledge" of how to use computers, iPhones and iPads.

"My two-year-old from a very early age was able to use my iPhone, unlock it and start watching TV programs without anyone's help," Ms Thomson said.

"I've never sat down with her and showed her how to use it; she's just worked it out."

Her children still choose television as their preferred recreational "screen time" device, followed by the iPad.

USAGE ON THE RISE

90% of children 5-14 using the internet

90% of use is for educational purposes

65% use internet for online games

Laptops and desktops still most common

One in five children use internet between 5 and 9 hours every week



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