Data is a better reward for kids than pocket money

11 June 2018

Parents are having to resort to new ways to reward or punish their kids. A recent survey of over 2,000 parents and children across the UK reveals that access to mobile data can be a more effective reward for today’s connected kids than television or sweets. 

Telecom provider EE found that nearly a quarter (23%) of children aged 11 to 16 say an increased data allowance would be a strong incentive for good behaviour – ranking it above extra time in front of the telly or being let off household chores.

Questioned further, the children revealed their mental ‘exchange rate’ comparing a pocket money reward with extra data usage: mowing the lawn equals £4.70 or 1.3GB of data; washing the car is equivalent to £4.80 or £1.1GB of data; and painting the shed works out at £8.10 or 1.8GB of data.

Not surprisingly, limiting children’s online access or data usage – known as ‘data grounding’ – is also an effective punishment. Parents know this already: 71% of parents surveyed say they had limited their children’s internet access – though, conversely, over one in 4 say they had never limited their children’s access or placed any parental controls on their phones.

Children revealed that the threat of limiting their mobile and tablet use (42%) and their internet access (28%) are more effective incentives for good behaviour than traditional approaches such as grounding (12%) and strict curfews (5%).

EE’s latest family data plans offers parents the ability to block or allocate usage as needed, so data could actually take the place of pocket money. And just like pocket money, over two-thirds of parents (and even 55% of kids) said they think managing a monthly data allowance is a good way to learn about budgeting. 

It’s a lesson the kids aren’t learning all that well, though: more than two-thirds (69%) of parents say their children regularly run out of data before the end of the month. 

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