The Big Summer Bribe – parents paying kids to stay off tech

12 August 2019

  • One in four admit to using pocket money as an incentive to reduce children’s screen time

  • Two thirds of parents pay their children to do the chores

  • A quarter of parents believe the amount of money they give to their child is too much

As the school summer holidays hit the halfway mark, a quarter of parents (23%) have admitted to using pocket money to bribe their kids away from their screens.

The latest Pocket Money research from Halifax, based on parents with children aged between 8 and 15, asked Mums and Dads if they incentivised their children for doing (or not doing) certain activities. As well as steering their young away from tech, one in five (20%) desperate parents have used pocket money as a way of getting their child to bed, and 15% on making homework more appealing. 

Children’s chore economy

However, bribery isn’t the only way kids could be earning some extra cash this summer. Nearly two thirds (60%) of parents pay their offspring to pick up some of the chores, even though 53% think they should be doing the chores regardless, and 30% would be willing to withhold payment if the work was not up to scratch. The research reveals that: 

  • 36% of children get pocket money for tidying their bedroom
  • 27% for cleaning 
  • 27% for doing the washing up

Fruits of labour

After putting down brooms and brushes with extra pennies in their pockets, children have many outlets for their well-earned cash. Nearly half (42%) buy sweet treats with their pocket money, 31% use the money on gaming, and 30% on toys. 

The vast majority of parents (93%) encourage their brood to save their money, although half of Mums and Dads (49%) also let their children download apps, or spend on music or film and TV-streaming services[1].

Giles Martin, Head of Savings at Halifax said; “The summer holidays represent great opportunity for parents to spend time with their children, get out and about as well as giving a life lesson on the value of money and earning their own cash. With over 70% of children still using a piggy bank to save their pennies, the summer months can be great for kids to see how much they can earn or save by the time they go back to school – and it’s interesting to see so many parents try to incentivise good behavior with pocket money too.”

So how much are children getting and is it too much?

This year, the average pocket money children got was £7.71, up from £7.01 reported by children in 2018. A quarter of parents (25%) believe the amount of money they give to their child is too much compared to just under half of children (43%) who think they should be getting more. 

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