By Maya Salam
12 February 2019
Maya Salam’s article for the New York Times’ In Her Words column touched on the growing exposure of young girls to tech and how it levels the playing field (or doesn’t) for their future opportunities in the field. Read the following excerpt:
Research by the Girl Scout Research Institute, out this week, drove that point home — showcasing through a survey of 2,900 girls and boys ages 5 to 17 (along with their parents) how access to smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming devices helps put girls on par with boys when it comes to tech, or exceed them in some respects.
Among the study’s most fascinating takeaways:
Boys play games for fun, while girls use tech to learn. The vast majority of children use their devices to watch videos and movies, listen to music and to play games. But while boys are more likely than girls to play games for fun — 81 percent versus 72 percent — girls are playing to learn, the study found. Girls also read books and articles on devices more than boys do, 40 percent compared with 28 percent. And girls are more inclined to use technology to create something new, whether it be videos or coding projects; to discover a new talent or interest; or to connect to social issues.
Still, boys remain more confident in their skills. Even if girls are spending more time learning, it’s boys who are more likely to believe they are the tech experts of their families, 53 percent versus 38 percent of girls. Parents may have something to do with that: In the study, they tended to give sons more credit for figuring out new technology on their own while reporting that their daughters learn technology from someone else, whether it be a parent, sibling or friend.
Read the full article in the New York Times.