Friday 6 December 2013

How often do you let your kids use gadgets?

Here at The Madhouse, we have an ipad2 and two ipad minis, all of which I've been lucky enough to win in various blogger competitions. That sounds like a lot but as there are five of us, I'd still like to win one more really, so that the Madhouse kids could have one each and stop squabbling ! It's not so much that they all want to play at the same time, it's the problem of brother and sisters deleting a much loved app off the wrong ipad or using up all the money and diamonds that have been carefully saved up in a game to buy a specific treasure or outfit. (I still haven't worked out if Pierre does this by accident or if Juliette does it to wind up her big sister !) It makes me laugh most of the time but there are some quite heated arguments after school, once homework has been done and I'm busy getting dinner ready ! 

That's when the Madhouse kids tend to play, when I need to keep them occupied with minimum input from me, and I have no qualms about that whatsoever. It's no worse than putting on a DVD to keep them quiet and I actually think a lot of the apps can be quite educational, especially for pre-schoolers and beginner readers. It appears that I am not alone.

The results of a study commissioned by LifeProof, award-winning maker of all-protective everyday cases for smartphones and tablets, into the 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. While four in ten parents admit that they sometimes use their smartphone or tablet as a high-tech babysitter to keep their kids entertained, nine in ten also believe that using gadgets can be educational for their kids.

Reassuringly, nearly a third of parents with two or more children said they have also noticed a difference in the development of their youngest child who is adept at using gadgets, in comparison to an older brother or sister who grew up without technology.

The results of the study 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’. And why play with your own toys when you can play with a smartphone or tablet? Nearly two thirds of parents said their children would opt for technology over their usual toys if given the choice.

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.

The average parent hands over a gadget to their kids at least three times a week because they themselves are exhausted, while six in ten use time on a smartphone or tablet as a way of rewarding their young ones for good behaviour – and it’s clearly paying off! 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.

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 in the last year fixing gadgets, while two electrical devices have been broken by kids in the last 12 months alone. The most common cause of damage is items being dropped in the house, while spillages and gadgets being lost were also seen as everyday occurrences.

We must be very lucky (and I hope I won't jinx it by saying this !) but we haven't had any breakages so far. Touch wood, that won't change !

Disclosure : LifeProof want to help me keep our ipads safe. In return for sharing the results of their research, they kindly offered to send me a  LifeProof case as a thank you!  For more information and to explore the full range of LifeProof cases visit:

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Great British Chefs Cooking With Kids app review


  1. Ny 7 year old does go on his tablet but within 10mins he rushes off to play with his toys. We are lucky as I don't think he has ever broken anything.

  2. We love our ipads (alas, haven't been able to win any). Sasha has his own, with the communication system app.


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