This is how children spend their vacation this year

Smart devices make both parents and children feel more secure

Children spend nearly half of their summer vacation, that is, more than a month at home without any program this year. This was one of the findings of the representative survey conducted by Yettel and Xplora to find out how parents plan the summer for their children. Based on the answers, today’s parents enjoyed much more freedom during their childhood, but parents tend to give more autonomy to children who are always available on their mobile phone or through a smart wearable device.

Of the 11 weeks of the summer vacation, children spend at home 5 weeks on average without any organized program such as a camp, staying with grandparents or a family holiday. This was found by a nationwide representative survey[1] conducted on a sample of parents to children aged 5 to 11 (mostly attending the lower grades of primary school). One of the main reasons is that parents are often at home in home office themselves, but many of them cannot afford extra programs for their children.

The number one vacation program is a family holiday. Based on respondents’ answers, 77% of children will go on a holiday with their parents. Many children will also spend time with their grandparents: three out of five families (58%) will use grandparents’ assistance to look after their children during the summer break. Day camps are also popular, about half of all parents will use them (48%) while 15% of children aged 5 to 11 will go to sleep-in camps this summer.

Popular camps

Sports and training camps are the most popular with camp-going children (37% of respondents enrol their children in such camps). They are followed by adventure camps (29%) as well as creative (arts & crafts) camps (24%) and Erzsébet camps (18%). Camps developing digital skills and knowledge are not that popular in Hungary (7%), but they are still more popular than folk camps (5%).

Those raised to be free give more freedom to their children

The survey also aimed to explore how much parents are ready to leave their child at home alone or let them leave home without supervision. Obviously, the older a child is, the more likely they are allowed to leave home for a short while without supervision (e.g., to school, biking, training or meeting friends). On average, one in eight children aged 5 to 7 are allowed to do that, while this ratio increases to 50% in the age group of 8 to 9 and to 75% in the age group of 10 to 11. Parents are much more liberal in the countryside where half of the children aged 5 to 11 get this level of freedom, whereas in Budapest this ratio is 33%.

Hungarian parents are very careful about leaving their children at home alone. Only one out of eight children aged 5 to 7 are ever left alone at home, while four out ten children aged 8 to 9 and one out of three children aged 10 to 11 can stay at home by themselves.

Responding parents enjoyed a much higher level of freedom as a child. Only one or two out of ten (about 15%) were not allowed to leave home without supervision. The results, however, reflect a generation-specific pattern. Those who were allowed to leave home for longer periods of time are now more liberal with their children, too, but those who were given less autonomy as a child don’t usually let their children leave home unsupervised either.

If children are always available, parents are more lenient

The survey also studied parents’ attitude to find out whether they are more lenient if they can contact their children anytime and anywhere. Results were similar both for parents and children. 80% of parents believe that it’s very important for their children to be able to contact them anytime, while 78% of parents consider it important for themselves to be able to contact their children anytime. That is, there is a clear need for contact on both sides for anytime contact. The results also show that the older a child is, the more likely they are to have a wearable smart device with a SIM card.

About 25% of responding parents plan to buy such a device in the near future. The parents of children aged 7 to 8 are the most open to purchasing a wearable device. In this age group, 40% parents plan to buy a smart watch. Parents open to their children using wearables consider it a particular benefit that such devices enable to them to check on the whereabouts of their children. Many parents said they would feel more confident if they could reach their child anytime through a wearable device. Using Xplora X5 Play available from Yettel, parents can contact their children whenever they feel the need. X5 Play also helps reduce children’s screen time and encourages them to do more physical exercise.

[1]Yettel and Xplora conducted their joint survey on a sample of 500 people between 28 April and 5 May 2022. The sample of parents was representative of households with children younger than 15 both by region and type of settlement. The sample of children was representative of children aged 5 to 11 by gender, age and region.