Kids headed back to school count on costly gadgets to help them learn and connect but are at greater risk than adults when it comes to device loss and damage, according to a new survey by Asurion, the recognized global leader in technology protection services.
Three quarters of students use phones and laptops at school with more than half turning to tablets. At the same time, a whopping 20 percent of parents have replaced three or more phones for their children in just the past 18 months – an estimated budget blow of $1,500 (since the average cost to replace a smartphone is $500). Moreover, one out of two laptops and tablets won’t make from freshman to junior year unscathed.
“Back to school is high risk for high tech, especially in households with kids. We see claims for tablets jump 19 percent in August, and our data indicates that someone drops a tablet every three seconds,” said Bettie Colombo, spokesperson for Asurion. “The first year of gadget ownership is particularly risky; with 80 percent of all cellphone incidents occurring in the first year of purchase.”
To help parents protect their family’s technology this back to school season, we’ve put together four ‘New Rules for School’.
New Rules for SchoolChildren’s mobile devices, tablets and laptops are more vulnerable than those owned by adults. Here are four tips to help parents stretch back-to-school budgets and gain peace of mind:
- Guard against loss and water damage. Kids are at least three times more likely than all owners to lose their phone or drop it in water. To increase your chances of finding a lost phone or tablet, turn on the “find my device” feature – or download one of the free apps from your wireless carrier. Purchase water resistant models, cases or sleeves to keep kids’ phones and tablets working even if they take a dip in the dog’s water bowl. And for laptops and tablets, set rules such as where the device may be used or not placing drinks near the laptop or tablet to reduce certain environmental risks.
- Have a backup plan. If something does happen, make sure the cost of replacing your child’s device doesn’t extend to losing photos, music and other files. An earlier Asurion survey found less than half of mobile phone owners believed they had a backup service, and nearly four out of 10 mistakenly thought it was automatically set up on their phone, leaving them empty handed. In addition to activating the photo and video backup options or selecting a backup app, regularly sync your device with your computer and turn on app backup features. For laptops, consider an external hard drive and for laptops or tablets sign up for a cloud service to back up key files.
- Teach kids how to protect personal information. For many kids, getting a new gadget is the first time they’ve needed to think about financial and other personal information. In fact, more than half of parents (53 percent) worry about their children’s identity being compromised if their cellphone was lost or stolen. This is an even greater concern for those who have replaced a mobile phone in the past 18 months due to loss, damage or theft (62 percent). Talk to kids about password protecting their device and not sharing personal information online.
- Pick the right product protection. For kids who are careful with every possession, a good case may keep tablets and smartphones safe. If you frequently toss broken toys or previously replaced an expensive device for your child, ask about protection plans from your wireless carrier or get a plan powered by Asurion at leading retailers. For damage-prone kids, pennies a day can be a small price to pay to avoid the high cost of mishaps.
Find more back to school technology rules on Asurion’s blog, where you can enter to win a $500 Visa gift card now through September 5, 2014.
SSI conducted the survey on behalf of Asurion. Survey results are based on 5,000 respondents between the ages of 17 and 65 completed in April and May 2014. Margin of error +/- 1.4%. Backup survey data was based a December 2013 to January 2014 survey of 2,289 individuals who owns smartphones between ages 18-69. This survey had a +/-1.8% margin of error.