Keep Calm and Buy Gadgets: British Parents Spend Big on Gadgets For Kids

By Steve Anderson July 25, 2014

Some are already referring to the younger set of Brits as the “gadget generation,” and as is commonly the case, mom and dad are footing the bill. A new report from E.ON is showing just how far this development goes, and the available information shows that this particular bill is getting footed to a degree that some might not have envisioned before now, reaching a staggering combined annual total of 2.25 billion pounds sterling (about $3.82 billion U.S.).

That alone might be enough to beggar some imaginations—let alone some wallets—but the E.ON study carries on to show just how far the gadget frenzy goes. Parents on average estimate that around 300 pounds per year (about $509 U.S) is spent on such things, with kids owning about four such gadgets on average. But spending actually increases to nearly 400 pounds per year (about $679 U.S) for those with children under the age of five. What's more, spending by parents for males over the age of 18 increases to 717 pounds (about $1,217 U.S), and spending by parents for females over the age of 18 is at the highest levels of all at just under 1,000 pounds (about $1,697 U.S) per year.

But interestingly, the spending isn't strictly for the kids. Fully 56 percent of respondents admit to using the unwanted gadgets and “hand-me-downs” from the kids. While 32 percent admit to not being as “tech-savvy” as the kids are, and 14 percent are willing to admit that the kids know more about the latest gadgetry than the parents do, there's also a clear perception of benefit.

One of the respondents, a broadcaster and mother of three named Sara Cox explained, saying “Of course you don't want your children to be addicted to their gadgets. But with today's busy lifestyles there can be real benefits for people of all ages when it comes to using technology - in education and learning for example, and also in helping organize day-to-day chores and tracking household budgets. Technology definitely plays a role in my family life - from helping the kids with their homework to listening to the latest music - there's always a gadget on the go.”

Of course, broken down into monthly rates, this really isn't so much; even the parents of older daughters are putting out around $160 a month. But it's enough of a jolt in isolation to ask if all this is really necessary. While those like Cox are seeing some clear value here, putting such tools to use in a bid to organize the household operations and keep in touch with the kids even when work schedules start to get a bit hectic, there's that risk that Cox also expresses, the risk of addiction. It might seem like a ludicrous kind of coddling, but then at the same time it might seem like a great deal of benefit being provided to the users. So are parents spoiling children by buying ridiculous amounts of gadgetry and replacing said devices regularly? Or are parents making worthwhile investments in platforms that will improve family life as a whole?

The answers to these questions will likely change from one person to the next, but one thing is quite clear: there's a lot of gadgetry getting bought and sold here, and this is probably a pretty big part of the British economy as we know it.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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