Research into the smartphone and tablet habits of the youngest members of UK families has revealed that seven in ten parents feel their children are brighter because of early exposure to technology. Nine in ten believe that using gadgets can be educational for their kids, and a third of parents with two or more children said they'd noticed a difference in the development of younger children who have become adept at using new technology. A quarter of parents report that their children are already far more proficient at using a smartphone and tablet than them and a further three quarters believe that the ability to engage with technology is a crucial part of their child’s development.
The results of the study commissioned by LifeProof, award-winning maker of all-protective, everyday cases for smartphones and tablets, also show that more than half of the 2,000 parents studied allow a child aged three years or younger to use their phone or tablet, with a third of parents remarking that their child is increasingly interested in using technology so they can ‘be like mum and dad’with nearly two thirds of parents saying that their children would choose technology over their usual toys if given the choice.
The average parent hands over a gadget to their kids at least three times a week because they themselves are exhausted and need a break, while six in ten use time on a smartphone or tablet as a way of rewarding their young ones for good behaviour. While four in ten parents admit that they sometimes use their smartphone or tablet as a high-tech babysitter to keep their kids entertained.
I must admit that Freddy is a regular tablet and smartphone user, and has been since he was around 2 years old. On car journeys, in supermarkets or in restaurants, it was helpful to keep him entertained and we found that Angry Birds was the app to do it! Nowadays, we specifically download educational apps so he is learning as he plays. But I'm glad to say, he still has a healthy love of playing with real toys, running around outside, socialising with friends and hitting things with sticks!! I think he's got the balance right.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE commented on the research:
“Gadgets are a part of everyday life and are here to stay – but should be used as part of a child’s creative development along with other stimuli. There has been much written about the use of gadgets by children, and technology is becoming a vital part of everyday life – but of course, as with everything, should be used by children and teens in moderation. Children shouldn’t be passive when it comes to technology, they need to be in touch with it, and learn to be creative and inventive, because ultimately there are many long-term benefits."
Steve Daverio, MD of LifeProof said:
“It’s great to see how many parents are using their smartphones and tablets as educational tools for their children - and that even the very youngest members of the family have something to gain from using these devices. With over half of parents revealing their children use apps better than they can, the study shows a real trend towards children using gadgets as part of their learning and development.”
Inevitably though, the damage toll to gadgets across UK households is high with a fifth of parents having had a phone or tablet broken or screen cracked after handing it to their children. The average parent has spent £110 fixing gadgets, and has had two electrical devices broken by kids in the last 12 months alone. The most common cause of damage is items being dropped or having things spilled on them.
My teenagers are actually the worst culprits for breaking gadgets. We have had an S3 with a cracked screen and an iPhone dropped out of a moving bus in the last few weeks alone. Ian's iPhone has thankfully been protected with a LifeProof Case, which is water proof, dirt proof, snow proof, shock proof ... and Freddy proof, so his phone has survived remarkably well! Take a look at this video to see just how kid proof the LifeProof cases make your iPhone 5.
LifeProof cases are designed to be slim and sleek, ensuring users have access to all of the functions on their smartphone or tablet. This means you can take photos underwater, use the device as a recipe book in the kitchen, set up a GPS unit on a bike ride, use fitness apps on the run – or hand your phone or tablet over to the kids without worrying! There’s a case to suit your needs suitable for a multitude of devices. Don't learn the hard way.
For further information on KidProofing your gadgets and to explore the full range of LifeProof cases visit: http://www.lifeproof.com/en/kidproof