Sky+, DVD players, Apple’s iPhone, all of these are a cinch for schoolchildren to operate, but ask them to tie their own laces before they go to school, and 45% of five to 13 year olds would have problems. 

The poll, conducted by energy provider npower, also showed that kids today are fairly ill equipped to handle many activities their counterparts in previous generations would have had less problem with. 

87% would be unable to repair a puncture, 81% incapable of reading a map, and 78.5% would come up blank when asked to put up a tent. The research highlights the fact that today’s youth are less concerned with the outdoors, their knowledge and interest lacking accordingly. 

Survival expert Ray Mears has said he is shocked that today’s young people are so poorly armed when it comes to practical skills. 

“When I was growing up I was told ‘You don’t need equipment you need knowledge to survive in the wild’ and this is something I truly believe.”

So dump a group of kids in the wilderness with a compass and ask them to fend for themselves, it’s less likely they would build a den out of bracken and forage for food, and more likely they’d Google-phone their way back to the nearest Pizza Hut and watch the latest episode of TOWIE they’d recorded. And who says technology doesn’t have its uses.


1 Recognise three types of butterfly – 91 per cent
2 Repair a puncture – 87 per cent
3 Tie a reef knot – 83 per cent
4 Read a map – 81 per cent
5 Put up a tent 78.5 per cent
6 Build a camp fire – 78 per cent 

7 Spot a blackbird, sparrow or robin – 71 per cent
8 Make papier mâché – 72 per cent
9 Make a cup of tea – 65 per cent
10 Build a den – 63 per cent 


1 Work a DVD player – 67 per cent
2 Log onto the internet – 58 per cent
3 Play computer games on games console (wii, Xbox or similar) – 50 per cent
4 Make a phone call – 46 per cent
5 Use a handheld games console (Nintendo DSi, PSP or similar) – 45 per cent
6 Use an iPhone (or smartphone) – 42 per cent
7 Work Sky Plus – 41 per cent
8 Send a text message – 38 per cent
9 Search for clips on YouTube – 37 per cent
10 Use an iPad (or tablet computer) – 31 per cent

Photo: Getty