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Half of American Parents Say Kids Have Damaged a Mobile Phone, Laptop or Tablet

“Just like their parents, kids use devices for an increasing number of things – from games and videos to research and homework. Our research shows that this increased usage also means that devices are more at risk than ever before, and we expect this trend to continue,” said Ty Shay, CMO of SquareTrade.

“We believe it’s important to educate parents about these accidents because 60% are not covered by a protection plan, making repairs and replacements expensive and time consuming.”

More than 85% of American kids now have their own mobile device and they use it more than ever: parents say their kids use mobile devices for an average of 3.2 hours a day.

  • Kids 2 and under use for 1.5 hours per day
  • Kids 3-6 use for 1.8 hours per day
  • Kids 7-12 use for 3 hours per day
  • Kids 13-17 use for 4.9 hours per day

The research also revealed the unexpected consequences of kids using mobile devices including unauthorized purchases, accidental calls, texts and photographs, and a surprising number of food and drink related accidents:

  • Accidental calls & texts: 31% of parents say that their kids have called, texted, or messaged someone by accident on their parent’s devices
  • Unapproved purchases: 28% of parents say that their kids have purchased something on the parent’s mobile device without permission
  • Unintended photos: 9% of parents say that their kids have taken inappropriate photos with the parent’s devices.
  • Conflict: 36% of parents have bought an additional device in order to reduce conflict in their home
  • Food & Drink: 33% of kid-caused accidents involved food or drink:
    • ✓ 50% involved milk
    • ✓ 19% involved chocolate
    • ✓ 17% involved candy
    • ✓ 16% involved yogurt
  • Boy trouble: Boys were 35% more likely than girls to have caused the accident

SquareTrade suggests these 5 tips for protecting kids’ devices and parents’ wallets from unexpected device accidents:

  1. Always keep devices in protective cases or covers
  2. Never take your devices to the bathroom
  3. Remind your kids not to eat and drink while using devices
  4. If your kids bring devices to school, make sure they don’t over-pack their backpack and crush their tablet
  5. Buy a protection plan so you’re covered no matter what accident happens

1Methodology and Data Sources
1.) SquareTrade’s 2013 Kids Accidents Survey, conducted in June 2013 using the world’s largest panel provider, Survey Sampling International. Feedback was collected from 1,000 parents with at least one child 0-18. 2.) The Census Bureau’s 2010 population estimates from the Family Households by Number of Own Children Under 18 Years study. Please note: Total expenditure estimate created using data sources 1 & 2.

kids-infographic-hi-resAbout SquareTrade
SquareTrade is the top-rated protection plan trusted by millions of happy customers for its fast and exceptional service. SquareTrade protects mobile devices, laptops and tablets, and other consumer electronics and appliances from malfunctions, accidental damage and life’s frequent mishaps. Unlike old-fashioned warranties, SquareTrade is designed for today’s consumer and uses innovative technology to deliver a zero hassle claims process. SquareTrade has more than 200,000 fans on Facebook, consistently wins industry awards and receives thousands of 5-star reviews for its legendary customer service. Top retailers around the world offer SquareTrade, achieving a 200% increase in sales on average and happier customers. SquareTrade’s rapid transformation of the warranty industry attracted one of the largest private capital raises in 2012, with a $238 million round led by Bain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures. Headquartered in San Francisco and London, SquareTrade is privately held. For more information, go to

SquareTrade Study Finds One in Three Laptops Fail Within Three Years

Are you planning to get a laptop or netbook this holiday season? Our team has been collecting data on over 30,000 new laptops and netbooks. As laptops have historically been among the most popular electronics gifts, SquareTrade publicly released its findings to consumers, examining the different aspects of laptop and netbook reliability.
Highlights are below but be sure to check out the full study. For further coverage of the report and discussion, check out GizmodoEngadgetPCWorldElectronista or ComputerWorld or check out the “Thoughts on this Study” below.First year malfunction rates: Netbooks vs Laptops
Netbooks projected to fail at a 20% higher rate than traditional laptops

The study begins with an overview of laptop hardware failure rates, as well as failures caused by accidents. We then compare netbook failure rates to more expensive laptops and evaluate the relative reliability of several leading laptop brands.

Manufacturers: Vast Differences in Reliability
3 year laptop malfunction rates by manufacturer

  • When excluding accidental damage and examining hardware malfunctions by manufacturer, Asus and Toshiba come out on top.
  • Apple and Dell both fall in the middle with approximately an 18 percent failure rate; while industry leader HP has the highest failure rate.
  • Over one in four HP laptops in the study experienced a hardware malfunction during the first three years of ownership.
Other highlights of the study include:
  • Asus and Toshiba were the most reliable manufacturers, with fewer than 16 percent having a hardware malfunction over three years.
  • Netbooks are projected to have a 20 percent higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than more expensive laptop computers.
  • Manufacturers proved to be a more reliable determinant of reliability than the type of laptop and should be a greater factor in making a purchase decision.
Thoughts on this study?
The report has people talking! Find this data useful? Sound off below or join the conversation on twitter.For further coverage of the report, you can also check out: the Apple BlogThe Business JournalsLaptop Magazine9 to 5 MacTom’s Hardware GuideMac BlorgeTechSpotUbergizmoDigital TrendsHard OCPTech RadarNetbook ChoiceGadget RepublicT3Mobile ComputerChannel ReliabilityTG Daily,ITP, or liliputing.


And check out our other studies on digital cameras, game consoles, iPad 1 vs. iPad 2, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone damage, and iPhones in the home.