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Wealthy young Brits easy target for thieves

Press release: 11/06/2010

  • The clothes and gadgets carried by average young teens are worth £246


  • A fifth of 5-8 year olds (21%) carry a mobile phone with them


  • One in seven 5-15 year olds (15%) don’t feel confident crossing the road safely
  • When deciding on the age at which their children are allowed to do things by themselves, half of all parents (49%) make the rules up as they go along


The clothes and gadgets carried by the average young teen on Britain’s streets are worth £246, singling them out as targets for thieves.

According to research from LV= Streetwise, nine out of ten 13-15 year olds (92%) carry a mobile phone on them whilst out and about with their friends. Three-quarters (74%) carry cash and over one in four (42%) leave the house with an iPod.

But it’s not just teenagers, many younger children also carry valuables when they’re out and about with friends – among 5-8 year olds one in five (21%) carries a mobile phone and 17% carry cash.

The reason why many young people carry valuable items like a mobile phone is because their parents want to keep them safe. Among 5-15 year olds, as many as 62% say their parents ask them to keep a mobile phone with them.

But mums’ and dads’ attempts to protect their children when they’re out on their own may be inadvertently increasing the risk of theft. Research shows that 11-16 years olds make up a third of all mugging victims [4].

Furthermore, by focusing their concerns on outside threats such as stranger danger, parents could be blinkered with regard to their children’s safety knowledge in and around the home. The LV= Streetwise research shows that 38% of 5-15 year olds would not know how to leave the house safely in the event of a fire, and one in seven (15%) don’t feel they are able to cross the road safely.

The research findings also reveal parental confusion over when it’s right to give their children more independence. Half of parents (49%) say they are so unsure about what is the right age to allow certain freedoms to their kids, that they make up the rules as they go along.

Mike Rogers, LV= group chief executive, said: “Helping to steer your children safely through the world around them is one of the biggest challenges for parents today. While most parents will warn their children to be careful when carrying around cash and expensive gadgets, they may not pay the same attention to the safety risks in and around the home.

“Our purpose as an insurer is to protect people’s lives and possessions, so naturally we also feel strongly about helping to educate families about safety and risk prevention. As a founder member of the LV= Streetwise charity we have a long-term commitment to child safety, and the message is going nationwide this summer as our safety bus roadshow visits summer fairs across the UK, to educate youngsters about safety.”

The research findings come as the LV= Streetwise safety bus roadshow continues to tour the UK, helping to educate children about safety in the home, on the road and at railway crossings. The roadshow is aimed at children from 5-11 years old, and has been designed by safety experts to help educate children about the risk of accidents in the home and when out and about, so that they can anticipate and avoid hazards.

A list of venues that the roadshow will be attending is below. Parents and young people can find out more about LV= Streetwise and the safety bus roadshow by visiting

[1] Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 161 parents of 13-15 year olds between 30th April and 4th May 2010. On average, 13-15 year olds were found to wear clothes worth £122.21 and carry items worth £123.79 when out unaccompanied, a total of £246.

[2] Research amongst children was undertaken between 23rd March – 7th April 2010 amongst 1000 children aged 5-15 by ICM Research via online method.

[3] Research amongst adults was undertaken by ICM Research between 19-28 March 2010 via an online survey involving 6099 adults,1505 of whom were parents of children under the age of 18.

[4] Statistics compiled from a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to individual police forces about robberies by Conservative youth spokesman, Justine Greening MP.


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