Either way you split it, the growing trend among U.S. parents (and grandparents) to buy our kids Wi-Fi-dependent devices isn’t good for hotel Wi-Fi or, in the case of pricier hotels, our wallets.
Mobile life is getting more complicated because – as those of you with kids below 15 already know — kids of all ages are increasingly getting hooked on iPads, tablets and other devices. And if you check into hotels with them, well….
Consider a family of four like mine with older kids aged 10 and 13.
Our teen at home, for instance, uses his Mac laptop to do homework, his Nexus 7 tablet to listen to music, and his smart phone for texts and Instagram. If traveling during the school year, he’ll bring everything so our gadget profile in a hotel often looks like this:
- Mom: Laptop, iPhone
- Dad: iPhone and iPad
- 10 year old: iPad mini
- 13 year old: Latop, Nexus tablet, smart phone
So, ponder for a moment what that means when you’re about to check into a hotel with either poor quality Wi-Fi or one that charges $5, $10, $15 or more per device! If you’re at the free-Wi-Fi hotel such as a Marriott Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn or Hyatt Place during a peak-family period, you’d better hope that the hotel has already beefed up the Wi-Fi.
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If you’re at a hotel that charges per device or per additional device, then you’d better be sure you have a few extra bucks with you.
Either way, it’s a headache! I recently told my 10-year-old son to do without Wi-Fi when we stayed at a hotel in Manhattan in August because it was going to cost an extra $10 or $15 for the night (he left with his grandparents the following day).
This issue isn’t restricted to parents of older kids.
In the USA, a new study shows, families are increasingly starting off pre-K kids on devices. Are you shocked? I’m not. More than once I’ve seen in airports a tot barely able to walk navigating her dad’s iPad to play a music video or start her favorite TV show.
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The study, done by ad consulting firm Communicus, is based on recent interviews of more than 2,000 adults and nearly 1,400 kids aged 6-17. . Findings from the study:
- Two-thirds of pre-K-aged kids use tablet devices, and one-third own their own tablet.
- Among pre-K youth who don’t have their own tablet, 50% ask their parents to buy them one.
- 18% of pre-K children ask their parents for their own smartphone and 34% ask for their own tablet.
Travelers: How do you manage your kids’ Wi-Fi use when in a hotel? Do you simply avoid hotels that charge per device?
Hoteliers: If you cater to kids, have you begun to notice spikes in your Wi-Fi usage and/or fee income?