Tablet gifting causes parenting concerns

Research Synopsis

According to the latest research from AVG Technologies, 33% of parents in the UK, US and Canada who participated in the survey will be buying their children a mobile device this festive season. Amongst these, 73% will purchase a tablet and 40% will purchase a smartphone.

Set against this potential surge in device ownership and with child internet safety concerns on the rise, the research discovered a number of concerning trends in parental behavior towards child device ownership and use.

64% of the parents questioned with children under seven admit to letting them spend time on the internet while they are not in the room and 73% would consider giving their children a device that they had not used themselves. Furthermore only 26% are currently using any kind of restricted profile or kid zones on their children’s devices – despite 82% being aware of the option. 

Other Key Findings

How much are parents willing to spend on devices at Christmas?

  • In the UK, 58% of respondents were planning to spend over £100 GBP on the device; 71% in the US were planning to spend over $100 USD; and in Canada, 45% were very generous with a budget of over $200 CAD per device
  • 79% of parents with two or more kids will buy them a device each
  • 59% of parents spend more on their children than on their partner

What kind of guidance are parents looking for when it comes to buying presents?

  • Three quarters (75%) of the respondents agreed with the statement that technology devices should come with age recommendations
  • 60% said they adhered to age recommendations if and where they were provided by manufacturers and retailers
  • 56% did not believe an Internet connected device is appropriate for children under the age of seven

To what extent is technology infiltrating modern family life?

  • 40% of respondents saying they felt pressure to buy their child the latest technology
  • Among parents who felt pressured into buying their child technology, 68% said that the pressure came directly from their children and 52% said it came from their children’s friends. Only 41% felt pressured by advertising and 36% said they were influenced by the media.
  • In 72% of the households which responded, the mother is in charge of buying the presents for the children. This doesn’t change when gifting devices with 78% of mothers still taking responsibility for the Christmas device shopping.

How much responsibility are parents taking when it comes to the purchase and set up of their children’s devices?

  • The majority always read the instructions for devices given to children (53%) and more are always involved in the setup of these devices (62%)
  • 95% have spoken to, or plan to, talk with their children about being safe online
  • More than half (53%) of those who responded limit their children’s device use over the holidays and 65% of these respondents also limit their own usage

And finally…

  • 20% of respondents admitted, that given the choice, they would happily have their smartphone instead of a festive Christmas lunch.


An online survey of 1,221 consumers was undertaken in the UK, US, and Canada. The survey was set up using Qualtrics and respondents were from Qualtrics’ online panel. Fieldwork took place in December 2013.

About AVG Technologies

AVG’s mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to‐use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 172 million active users as of September 30, 2013 and offers a protection, performance and privacy products and services suite to consumers and small businesses including Internet security, performance optimization, mobile security, online backup, identity protection and family safety software.