Parents are sending kids back to school with a whopping £270-worth of gadgets crammed in their backpacks, totalling some £3.2 billion of high-tech gizmos in the nation’s collective school bag.
The soaring value of devices in under-16’s bags, which was unearthed by uSwitch Tech research, represents a 108% rise from last year. Over a fifth (27%) packed a staggering £400 of tech into their hold-alls.
Much of the increase in gadget spend stems from parents buying kit for the autumn term. Of the sample, half said they will spend £134 on tech ahead of the start of the new school year.
The upturn will surely also be down in part to children's increasing dependence on shiny gadgetry to do their assignments, with 33% of kids using tablets for their homework. That’s up from 25% last year.
Smartphones are also more and more likely to stand in for encyclopedia and text books, with 14% of the sample turning to them for reference. This is up from 11% who used their phones as homework aids a year ago.
However, while it seems that parents are shelling out for whatever pocket lint their kids tell them they need for school, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy about it.
While half of the parents quizzed said paying hundreds of pounds for cutting-edge kit is a price worth paying to give their kids an advantage at school, a further 49% admitted they worried that immersion in tech could damage their children’s social skills.
Arguably more concerning for parents, though, is that 9% of children have been bullied over gadgets, while 13% have either lost them or had them stolen at school.
Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Embracing tablets and laptops in both the classroom and with homework can speed up research, as well as lighten the load with children carting around fewer books.
“But many parents are still concerned about how much kids are using gadgets, and whether it will impact their social skills in the long term.”
Doku added: “Parents could alleviate some fears about how their child is using gadgets by setting clear boundaries for how and when they use them.
“By engaging with their child and making the time to use gadgets together, parents can nurture their development and help their child learn to use technology more responsibly.”