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Kids ask their parents 22,174 questions during their school years, with parents unable to answer a third of them

31 July 2017


The research marks the launch of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s #ISeeMore competition in collaboration with confectionery giant Mondelēz International, to engineer a chocolate bar of the future.

It’s no secret that kids like to ask the question ‘why’, but just how much? New research reveals that curious kids in the UK ask their parents 22,174 questions during their school years – more than half of which are science or engineering related (53%).

Nearly two thirds of parents believe curiosity is key to intelligence (59%) and a successful career (58%). However, children appear to be asking stretching questions. Mums and dads are unable to answer a third of children’s questions (33%) and  just under one in 20 (4%) can answer all of their questions.

The survey of over 2,000 parents of school aged children, commissioned by the Institution of Engineering and Technology to mark the launch of its #ISeeMore* competition with Mondelēz International, home to brands including Cadbury Dairy Milk and Maynards Bassetts, found that the top five questions asked by knowledge-thirsty kids are about:

  • Science, engineering and how things work (53%)
  • How things are made (43%)
  • Nature (40%)
  • Food and drink (31%)
  • Politics (29%)

The majority of parents tell their kids to Google (69%) the solutions rather than suggesting more traditional options such as asking grandparents (14%), their partners (24%) or their children’s teachers (15%).

Nearly two thirds (58%) of parents feel proud of their children for asking questions but, when stumped, just over one in 20 (6%) make up an answer and hope it’s right, whilst almost one in five (18%) tell their child that they’ll enlighten them later and, in the meantime, look it up themselves.

The #ISeeMore Competition

The #ISeeMore competition challenges 8-16 year olds to use their engineering acumen to design a chocolate bar of the future. The winner will see their design created as a one-off prototype alongside chocolate experts and hear from a real life engineer at the Bournville Factory**, where some of the nation’s favourite chocolate bars are produced.  The winner will also receive a trip to Cadbury World and an iPad mini. Ten runners up will win family tickets to Cadbury World.

The #ISeeMore competition aims to inspire the next generation of engineers by showing what an exciting, diverse and creative career engineering can be through the medium of chocolate. It encourages young people to literally ‘See More’ through uncovering the role of engineering in brands and items that feature heavily in their lives.

Nigel Fine, Chief Executive, Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “A big part of the work of an engineer is finding solutions to questions about how and why things work. We’re delighted to launch the #ISeeMore Engineer a Chocolate Bar of the Future competition in collaboration with Mondelēz International. The competition aims to nurture curiosity from a young age and dispel the common misperceptions of careers in engineering.”

Emma McLeod, Research Principal for Process Technology at Mondelēz International, said: “Every Cadbury Dairy Milk product has been carefully invented and created[1], with engineering being a fundamental part of bringing an idea to life. Engineering is incredibly important to us[2], and we are proud to work with the IET on a campaign which aims to excite children about the role it plays in everyday life. My son is following in my footsteps to become an engineer and I would really like to see more young people consider this fantastic career. ”

For more information on the competition, the judges, the prize or to enter visit the Engineer a Better World website.

 

Notes to editors:

[1]The research was undertaken by Censuswide between 16/06/17 and 20/06/17 amongst a sample of 2,000 parents of school aged (4-18) children.

[2] Mondelez International - as part of our £200m investment in modern manufacturing and innovation we are dedicated to developing the skills of our UK workforce, including our well established apprenticeship programme, to drive productivity and competitiveness in the UK for generations to come.

[3] Mondelez International - since 2009, productivity performance in food and drink has increased by 11 per cent. This is great progress, but we also know we have more to do. Bringing the right people with the right skills into the industry and regions is vital to addressing the skills gap facing food and drink. As a sector food and drink faces a huge challenge to recruit 130,000 new skilled workers by 2024. In comparison, the automotive sector is forecast to require 27,000 and aerospace will require 15,300.