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Queens Chronicle

Easy Steps to Protect Kids’ Costly Gadgets

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Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 4:37 am, Fri Aug 15, 2014.

(StatePoint) The sensitive electronic devices your family now owns no longer sit safely in the den. Your laptops, phones and tablets are in kids’ backpacks, the schoolyard and even the treehouse. And these devices are certainly worse for wear.

In fact, more than half of American parents say their kids have damaged a mobile phone, laptop, tablet or other portable device, costing more than $2.8 billion in repairs and replacements, according to research from SquareTrade.

“As more kids use tablets and other devices for games, videos, research and homework, these devices are at greater risk than ever before” says Ty Shay, CMO of SquareTrade.

Whether the kids are using their own devices or yours, you’ll want to protect your family’s electronics. Here are several steps you can take to avoid accidents entirely and protect yourself financially when they do happen to occur:

• Guard against fumbles: It’s nearly impossible to avoid slips, drops and fumbles, especially for small hands, so always keep devices in protective cases and covers. This small investment can protect your bigger one.

• Don’t cry over spilled milk: About one-third of kid-caused accidents involve food and drink. Breakfast may be especially dangerous, as half of all kid-caused food accidents involved milk. You can limit these types of accidents by setting a rule in your house that no one can use devices during meals and snack time.

• Save it for later: Bathrooms and sensitive electronics don’t mix, as it’s all too easy to drop that smartphone in the toilet, or even the bathtub. Encourage kids to save their text conversations for later.

• Pack smart: Help kids pack their bags for the school day in a smart way that ensures their tablet and other devices won’t be crushed by a load of books or have a run-in with a melted chocolate bar.

• Buy a protection plan: While manufacturers’ warranties cover malfunctions for reasons beyond users’ control, the reality is that accidents are just waiting to happen, especially when kids are involved. So find a protection plan that will cover accidental damage.

Rather than opt for costly insurance through your mobile carrier, check out more affordable options, such as SquareTrade, which offers protection plans on mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other devices. Their mobile phone plans, for example, cost $5 a month with a $75 deductible -- which is less than half of what most mobile carriers charge --, and their online claims process makes it easy.

More information on protection plans can be found at www.SquareTrade.com.

Life is full of mishaps, especially during the busy school year. Take steps to protect the useful tools you and your family use every day.

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