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Kids: They'll kill your devices

Letting your kids play with your devices led to $2.8 billion in spending to repair or replace those items. Think about that next time junior wants to play with your smartphone.

By Mitch Lipka Sep 5, 2013 5:48PM

Image: Teens with MP3 player (© RubberBall/SuperStock)Those kids! So full of energy. So reckless. So expensive.

Victim of youthful exuberance (among many other things): your electronic devices. The electronic warranty company SquareTrade said its research found that half of American parents reported that their children had damaged at least one electronic device.

The damages for the kid carnage? A whopping $2.8 billion for repair and replacement costs, SquareTrade said.

One reason kids wreak such havoc on their parents' devices is simple access. Nearly three-quarters of parents allow their children to use their personal devices, the company found. And close to two-thirds of the time there was kid-caused damage it came during time off from school. And 80% of the time the damage happened at home. In other words, Mom and Dad could have prevented the damage, in theory, anyway. In promoting how at risk our devices are, SquareTrade is hoping to gain more customers of its electronics protection plans.


"Just like their parents, kids use devices for an increasing number of things, ­ from games and videos to research and homework," said SquareTrade CMO Ty Shay. "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."

Of course, in addition to dropping their parents' devices, spilling drinks on them or otherwise messing them up, there are plenty of other ways kids can cause damage or cost their parents money. Here are some additional findings:

  • 36% of parents said they bought an extra device to avoid conflict at home.
  • 33% of accidents reported at home involved food or drinks. (Half of the time milk was the culprit.)
  • 31% of parents reported that their children either called, texted or sent someone a message by mistake while using their parents' devices.
  • 28% reported purchases by their kids that were not approved by them.
  • 9% of kids took photos their parents thought to be inappropriate.

The findings were based on a survey of 1,000 parents conducted in June.

Here are some tips from SquareTrade to try to cut back on kid-caused device damage:
  • Keep devices in protective cases or covers.
  • Never take your devices to the bathroom.
  • Remind your kids not to eat and drink while using devices.
  • When bringing devices to school, be careful not to shove them in over-filled backpacks. 


More from MSN Money:

Sep 6, 2013 7:35AM
learn to tell your kids NO.  wow, what a friggin' concept.
Sep 6, 2013 7:43AM

Microsoft put out the most annoying commercials for the "surface". It has mostly kids on it tossing the $349 tablets back and forth doing cartwheels and other acrobatics with them in their hand. I cringe everytime I see it.

Sep 6, 2013 8:34AM
Kids of all ages consider everything a toy. Not a new concept. Any adult that doesn't realize this deserves the predictable outcome !
Sep 6, 2013 10:10AM
Preach garden.queen Preach........these people are afraid of their kids but  they will tell off their boss, friends, but can;t say no to their children.   
Sep 6, 2013 10:39AM
This is new?  Anyone who has ever had anything that their kids got their hands on knows this.  I see the "journalists" needed to fill some space.
Sep 6, 2013 9:57AM
Yeah because adults are so careful with there own devices. I've seen more adults drop their phones than kids. How many accidents are old people responsible for? Cars are a lot more expensive than a stupid phone.
Sep 9, 2013 5:54PM
How about a big, fat "NO, you don't touch my "electronic device"!!  Period, end of conversation.  Good Heavens, where is the common sense??? 
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