Smartphone is No 1 ‘back to school’ gadget in UK – survey

20 Aug 2014

Image via CroMary/Shutterstock

Parents of children aged 15 and under in the UK have revealed that smartphones top their ‘back to school’ shopping list, while very few will be buying a scientific calculator.

In a survey commissioned by Tiger Mobiles, 59pc of parents said they planned to buy their child a mobile phone for the new school year, with 96pc of those opting for a smartphone.

Most of these parents (68pc) said they wanted to kit their kids out with a phone for their own safety, while just 12pc believed the device could help with homework and organisation.

However, peer pressure is rampant even among grown-ups, as almost one-fifth of parents (18pc) admitted they would buy their child a phone just because their classmates had one.

Tablet computers are also seen as a back-to-school necessity by more than one-fifth (22pc) of those surveyed – even more so than laptops at 10pc – while MP3 players would be bought by 6pc of parents.

Surprisingly, only 3pc of those surveyed thought it essential to equip their schoolgoer with a scientific calculator.

The smartphone generation

According the survey results, children in the UK as young as six years old will start the school year with a phone of their very own.

“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,” said Brandon Ackroyd, head of customer insight at Tiger Mobiles.

“There is, 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,” he added.

These statistics come as tech giant Google is reportedly planning to launch online accounts for children aged 13 and under, in order to address the issue of children’s internet use.

In Ireland, it has been reported by the Net Children Go Mobile project that 40pc of children aged nine to 16 already own smartphones.

Kid with smartphone image by CroMary via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.