Children as young as nine get keys to family home

Children as young as nine get keys to family home

Teens and tweens might threaten your home security, says new research from Confused.com, as more parents are leaving a set of house keys with their children.

The findings from home insurance experts at Confused.com reveal that, today, 40 per cent of parents are giving children under the age of 18 a set of keys to their home, and eight per cent of these key-holders are under nine years of age with 18 per cent aged between nine and 11.

Traditionally, children receive ‘the key to the door’ at a more suitable age, or when they reach a milestone birthday like 16, 18 or 21, but things are much different in modern society, according to these findings.  

Giving young children keys to the house has been identified by Confused.com as one of the potential threats to home security that families may be overlooking.

We would encourage parents to mention to their children the potential dangers of giving out their address on social media, and also...

According to the findings, one in six parents have already come home to find the front door unlocked or had a child lose a key, highlighting just how risky entrusting keys to their kids can be.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Home Insurance at Confused.com, said: “Getting the ‘key to the door’ at 18 or 21 is a bit of an out-dated concept now that some children receive house keys aged nine or under.

“While we are not surprised to find that times have changed, we want to emphasise that putting such a young child in charge of home security could be a risk to them and to the safety of the family home and property.

The experts at Confused.com are urging parents to educate their children about home security before giving them keys to the family home, and reminding them that leaving the door unlocked by accident could invalidate their insurance if they are burgled as a result.

In the survey of 2,000 parents (with children aged 18 or under), Confused.com also found that 37 per cent of parents are worried that their kids will take the car without permission if they leave the car keys in the house, and more than one in ten parents say their children have already done this.

Meanwhile, nearly two thirds of parents are worried that their child will forget to lock the door or lose their house key, and this has already happened to 16 per cent of parents polled.

Additionally, more than half of parents are worried that their child will have a party while they are away and for 16 per cent of these, this has already happened.

Furthermore, 55 per cent of parents are worried that their son/daughter will tell people when they are going on holiday and just under half of parents are worried that their kids will share their address online.

Gareth added: “It is important to have a chat with your child about the responsibility associated with having a key to the family home.

“We would encourage parents to mention to their children the potential dangers of giving out their address on social media, and also highlight the risks of having an address written on the key fob itself.

“We would urge parents to remind their children that, should they lose the key to the house, they must tell them immediately as, if this happens, it may be necessary to change the locks.”

The findings also revealed that more than 14 per cent of parents have left their child or children at home alone overnight or to go on holiday.

Gareth said: “We are not here to criticise families as each has their own circumstance, and we understand that many parents have to work during school hours, but we do want to remind parents to talk to their children about home security and that accidentally leaving your home unprotected may invalidate your home insurance should you need to make a claim.”

Tell us your thoughts on these findings in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK

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  1. by Katie 19th Feb 2013 16:27

    My husband and I both got the keys to our parents' homes when we were 8-11 years old, when we started riding the bus home from school. The alternative was coming home to our parents not being there and having to wait outside until they got off work. My parents were pretty protective, too. I'm fairly certain this is typical of MOST families and has been for decades, not some new, modern thing. Honestly, what I think is a fairly modern thing is parents not trusting their kids to be home alone or to trust their children with basic responsibilities like keeping house keys until they are of voting age.

    Why would a 21-year-old need a key to their parents' house? Most 21-year-olds have moved out and have places of their own. Unless they were coming back for a visit or taking care of the plants while their parents were out of town, it seems sort of silly to make some ceremony of trusting an 18- or 21-year-old with keys to a house when they are old enough to be living on their own, as many that age are.

    It's this sort of thing that promotes helicopter parenting. If you don't want your kid to lose their keys, you make them pay for changing the locks out of their allowance when it happens. You teach them to lock the door behind them when they get home from school. That's it. It doesn't have to be a source of social panic.

  2. by sandy 19th Feb 2013 17:10

    Giving out keys to 9 year olds is not a new concept. Anyone that grew up in the 70s probably had their own key by the time they were 9 or were at least entrusted with a key as needed.

    I would like to see the research that shows the detrimental effects from children carrying keys. Sure, they may lose the key and perhaps even learn a lesson. Do we seriously believe an 18 year old that has never been entrusted with a key will suddenly be responsible?

  3. by Dark Space 19th Feb 2013 22:11

    This is a joke right? I actually get the point you make about not telling people when you're out of town - when I was a teenager a group of "friends" who'd heard we were going on family vacation from moi, broke in to our house and ransacked it, only to be caught red-handed later. I've discussed this type of scenario with our 10-year old daughter, who also responsibly manages a cell phone, texting, emailing, and general web surfing (no facebook or twitter yet, but she does have a youtube account and post videos amongst other kids all of whom apparently love this game called minecraft). Although our house has a push button code (each individual has their own, and entries are tracked - we have a lot of people with access to our house) instead of a key, she has managed this responsibly for several years. I'm sure she was 7 or younger when we gave her her own entry. Really I can't even imagine what harm she could do even if she leaked the code out amongst her friends - sure someone could use it to break in. But, honestly a well placed brick could gain access to our house anyway, that's just part of life. She has a friend who has been in charge of his family's chicken flock (about a dozen birds) since he was about 7 - if he fails to be responsible, something dies - but somehow he's figured it out despite his tender years.

    Overall, I think this article and the flimsy "research" behind it is very much irresponsible and does not accurately depict either the current day or historic levels of responsibilities that can be managed by a youngster. If your kids can't manage to keep track of a key to your house, then you as parents are doing something wrong.