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12/19/2013 - Portable devices breaking more frequently

Although smart phones can be broken by anyone, younger consumers tend to do it in higher frequency.

While at one time older teens, young adults and parents were primarily the members of the family that had cellphones and laptops, that's not the case anymore, as kids can often be found with handheld devices at school or at home. However, perhaps due to their being playful, a substantial number of them have broken or badly damaged wireless technology, according to a new poll.

The analysis, which was performed by research firm Survey Sampling International, questioned 1,000 parents who had at least one child. Of these individuals, approximately 50% said that their kids have damaged a mobile phone, laptop, tablet - or some other form of a portable device.

Ty Shay, chief marketing officer of extended warranty service provider SquareTrade, noted that kids use these devices for all manner of things - such as playing games, watching videos and doing homework - which many parents recognize.  And the more that they're used, the greater likelihood that they'll break.

"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 Shay. "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."

Eight in 10 kids have a portable device
According to the survey, an estimated 85% of American kids have their own mobile device and use it for an average of about three hours per day. The older they are, the longer they tend to use the technology. For example, kids under 2 use devices for about one-and-a-half hours each day, approximately two hours for kids 3 to 9 and just over three hours per day for 7-to-12-year-olds.

Reuters recently reported that schools are getting in on the action as well. For example, in the city of Houston, one of the school districts is distributing 17,000 laptops in area high schools this year. However, to protect these items from breaking, schools have purchased various insurance plans for the portable technology.

Parents may want to do something similar with their homeowners insurance plan. Up to a certain amount, belongings can be insured through a property coverage plan, with minimums varying depending on the plan and the insurer.

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