Toddlers are mobiles' worst enemy

Sure she looks cute now but just wait until she sticks your iPhone in the compost bin
Sure she looks cute now but just wait until she sticks your iPhone in the compost bin

A new survey 'reveals' that children are responsible for decimating the world's population of mobile phones, variously chucking them in the bin, smearing them with food and plopping them down the loo.

Kid-tech manufacturer LeapFrog found that a third of parents had children who changed the settings on their phones, while a quarter blamed their offspring for mucking up the display with mushed-up bananas.

Nearly ten per cent accused their little darlings of placing their phone or PDA in the bin, and a disgusted 7 per cent found their phone in a toilet's U-bend.

The biggest complaint, though, was of children accidentally placing calls, with over half reporting unintentional calls to such comedy staples as 'the boss', 'mothers-in-law' and the ever-vague 'abroad'.

What's wrong with an abacus and a spinning top?

Reassuringly for anyone planning to have a heart attack or get stuck in a burning building, one in six of these accidental calls were to the emergency services.

Despite this litany of technological mayhem, parents apparently feel compelled to share their electronics with their progeny. Nearly half (45 per cent) hand over their phone to keep kids amused during travel, and a quarter even shared their mobile while waiting at a doctor's or dentist's office.

Only about one in seven parents (15 per cent) say their child has never had access to their phone, probably because over half found that kids denied access to technology burst into tears (admittedly, we have the same problem).

All this survey nonsense was released to hype the release of LeapFrog's latest piece of plastic rubbish, a simulated BlackBerry toy called 'Text & Learn' that apparently "helps build preschool readiness skills".

After all, just imagine if little Jack got to nursery and found all the other kids already able to string text speak and emoticons together. How embarrassing!

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.