San Francisco — We love our kids but it’s hard to love the damage they inflict on our mobile devices.
SquareTrade, which has made a name for itself in the extended warranty biz by providing hassle-free service contracts through retailers and directly to consumers, has quantified the carnage.
According to the company’s new Kids and Device Accidents Study, parents have shelled out more than $11 billion to repair or replace broken smartphones, tablets and laptops, with accidents occurring in 89 percent of households.
“Kids and devices are quite the popular pairing these days, second only to peanut butter and jelly,” observed SquareTrade spokesperson Jessica Hoffman. “Teaching tech etiquette alongside the ABCs and 123s is a smart idea for sanity at home.”
Among the study’s data points: 70 percent of elementary school kids, 65 percent of middle school kids, and 37 percent of toddlers own tablets, which were damaged by children in 55 percent of families, most often in accidental drops.
Laptops were broken by youngsters in 58 percent of households, while 39 percent of families reported smartphone casualties.
Besides dropping them, kids are most prone to damaging devices by spilling liquid on them (18 percent) and crushing them (9 percent).
Among other key findings, most accidents happen at home (80 percent), followed by outdoors (7 percent) and school (5 percent).
Hoffman’s advice (aside from purchasing a protection plan): don’t overstuff backpacks; zip-lock devices at the beach or poolside; limit screen time in the car; and don’t use devices around food and sticky drinks.
The study, which can be a compelling argument by sales associates for attaching a service plan to a sale, was conducted in April by Qualtrics and Honest Data, which polled 2,100 parents with at least one child age 13 or younger.