Smartphones Top the List of Back to School Gadgets

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on August 20, 2014, Press Releases

Prospective parents might want to look away now.

A new study has found that a smartphone is the number one back to school gadget in the UK for children 15 years and under.

The findings reveal that school student’s needs are shifting toward tech products that provide the latest features in communication, mobility and convenience.

Smartphones dominated the poll, with 59% of parents revealing they planned to buy their child a mobile phone ahead of the new school year. Tablets (22%), Laptops (10%) and MP3 players (6%) were also high on the list of prospective purchases. It’s bad news for Mathematics teachers though with only 1% of parents opting for the trusty scientific calculator.

The survey commissioned by TigerMobiles.com, as part of ongoing research into buying habits and experiences of smartphone users in the UK, quizzed 2870 parents with children aged 15 years or under about their back to school buying habits:

  • 59% of parents will be buying their child a phone ahead of the new school new year.
  • 96% will be purchasing a full blown smartphone as opposed to a feature phone that doesn’t have apps or full internet access.
  • 68% cited safety of their child as the main reason for buying one.
  • 12% believed a smartphone would help with homework and their child’s organisation.
  • 18% admitted the only reason for purchasing a mobile phone was because their child’s classmates owned one.
  • Children as young as 6 will be starting the new school year in possession of a mobile phone.
  • 75% of parents will opt for a contract phone as opposed to pay as you go.

Head of Customer Insight at Tiger Mobiles, Brandon Ackroyd, wasn’t overly surprised at the findings –

We truly live in the smartphone generation so it’s no real surprise that children are getting their hands on mobile devices ahead of a new school year. There’s of course a big debate about whether a child needs a smartphone at that age but I think we’re past that. It’s happening and I don’t think there’s much anyone can say or do to change that.

One area of concern for Mr. Ackroyd however was the money parents are spending on handsets.

We are seeing more and more parents splash the cash on high end smartphones when they really don’t need to. Even a heavy smartphone user rarely uses an iPhone to its full potential so for a child at Primary School it is complete overkill.

Ackroyd added:

I’d always point parents in the direction of cheaper handsets and also go for PAYG over a pay monthly deal. It’s a good way of teaching children financial control and budgeting from a young age.

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