I know it's fashionable to fret over a supposed decline of male competence, but sometimes that editorial line can overlook more pertinent concerns.
The research by the Tesco Computers for Schools programme found girls were more likely than boys to be able to perform key tasks, such as creating documents.
A higher percentage of girls aged over seven could carry out tasks such as finding what they needed on a search engine, creating and editing a Word document and downloading photos.
Printing of geek certificates clearly won't be stepped up in the foreseeable future.
The poll found, for example, that 'among teenagers... 59% could download music' – hence that forty-one percent couldn't – and yet the headlines are about a gender gap—leading me to wonder at the depths of expectation generally.
Now of course 'being able to download music' is technically meaningless: being able to click on a link to an audio file in a pre-configured Web browser can be described thus, as can installing a BitTorrent client from scratch before operating it. Editing a Word document? Downloading photographs? The only mildly interesting criterion is that of image manipulation, and without seeing the survey questions one can't tell whether it means retouching, etc. or just, say, resizing.
It's worth noting the other part of the story: that these variously competent people apparently still tend to outdo their parents. The lack of an earlier generation with which they can be compared, and of one amongst which the triviality of these 'skills' is generally recognised, helps explain the 'girls vs. boys' angle of the reporting.