UK kids spend nearly an hour a day using gadgets

Katie Roberts

By Katie Roberts

March 15th 2012 at 11:33AM
UK kids spend nearly an hour a day using gadgets

New survey commissioned by Leapfrog shows extent of technology use in children ten and under.

The survey of 2,000 parents shows that UK children spend 58 minutes a day using technology-based products at home. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of  the children surveyed now own a camera, gaming or mobile device, with six per cent of those owning a personal tablet such as an iPad.

70 per cent of children regularly play with their parents’ laptop or computer and more than a sixth (16 per cent) own their own computer.

Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of parents claim their children know more about modern devices than they do and take to it more naturally. The research also reveals that parental attitudes towards technology are changing. 50 per cent of British families claim they use technology at home as a means of bringing them closer together.

Entertainment remains the number one use of technology in the home (48 per cent) and with the rise in educational apps and gaming devices, 39 per cent of families now use technology as an educational aid to their children’s learning.

Almost a third (29 per cent) of parents see technology as a key part of their child’s education and development, while almost one in ten (seven per cent) report that their children use their Kindle for regular reading.

Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, who tracks and predicts developments in technology and society, commented: "Over the next ten years it is likely that we will see learning on tablets in the classroom as commonplace, with Kindles often replacing books and learning gadgets being the materials of choice in the home.

"Video visors will even be commonly used for learning activities. However, traditional books will still have a place."

However online safety continues to be a significant concern for parents. Over a third (38 per cent) worry that gadgets – such as tablets and e-readers - are not age appropriate and as a result worry their children will access inappropriate content.

Over a quarter (26 per cent) are concerned about online grooming and one in ten (ten per cent) worry about their child being subjected to cyber bullying. Despite concerns, though, less than a third (31 per cent) insist their children’s technology use is supervised at all times.

Robert Dekker, senior marketing manager EMEA and Australasia, LeapFrog, commenced: “It is undeniable that children adapt very naturally to new technology trends and it’s encouraging to see families embracing it in ways that promote family time and facilitate children’s learning.

"That said, online safety is still a common concern for parents and so it’s really important to ensure that any screen time is monitored closely. This also means that there is a huge appetite for safe and engaging learning, which is where we try to offer an innovative and creative solution with products such as Tag, Explorer and LeapPad."