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3.5 million British kids under eight now have tablets

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Over a quarter of British children under eight years old around 2.1 million kids now have tablets, according to new research from uSwitch.com. And children in Britain really are early adopters, with nearly 4 million UK techy tots first mastering touchscreen tablets and smartphones aged three years or younger.

More than one in ten (11%) tablet users were under the age of two.

At least eight in ten parents (84%) splashed out on tech for their kids in 2013, spending £462 each on average, or £5.6 billion collectively. The majority of that spend - £3.2 billion - was on gadgets for Christmas alone.

If you think that's generous, over a third (36%) of mums and dads expect to spend more on gadgets for their children in 2014. Just a quarter (25%) reckon they spent too much on gadgets for their kids last year. Children are most likely to own games consoles - more than nine in ten (91%) parents say that their kids own at least one.

Nearly a fifth of parents (16%) believe their under 16s are "addicted" to gadgets, while more than a quarter (26%) say their kids would feel lost without them. This could explain why almost three quarters (71%) limit how many hours their children spend using technology.

But parents might also want to keep a watchful eye on how their brood uses smartphones and tablets, as the research also revealed that more than one in ten kids (12%) have racked up unexpected bills by making in-app purchases on tablets and smartphones.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: "The term 'early adopters' now has a whole new meaning, with today's kids knowing their way around the latest tech before they're out of nappies."

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Tags: tablets  UK