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Almost half of children spend more time chatting and interacting in virtual worlds than the real world

Children know how to play video games and use smartphones before they can write their names, tie their shoes or ride a bike, a new study has revealed.

A survey of 6,017 parents from around the world by computer security company AVG revealed that 46 per cent of children aged six to nine spent more time chatting, playing and interacting within virtual environments.

Related: Protecting children online – how far is too far?

Children as young as two are learning digital skills like operating a tablet, before they are learning important life skills like making their own breakfast.

The study found that 47 per cent of children aged between two and five years old can navigate a smartphone or tablet while only 38 per cent can write their full name. Also, more children at this age are able to play a computer game (66 per cent) than ride a bike (58 per cent).

The safety of children online is said to be a growing concern for parents, as cases of cyber-bullying continue to be reported by the media.

Related: A third of UK children victims of cyber-bulling

A report last year raised concerns of the amount of children online that were unsupervised and untrained in internet safety.

The OnePoll study found that 50 per cent of nine to 16 year olds have had no formal teaching about the dangers of the web at school.

Since then the Cabinet Office has launched a wide-reaching education programme about Internet security.