It’s not a secret that we’re living in a connected, tech-heavy era, but our love of gadgetry is passing onto our youth. A recent study shows that one in 10 kids have a mobile phone by the time they’re five years old. Not an iPad, iPod or other device – a mobile phone.
The report from uSwitch.com found the average child gets his or her first mobile at the age of 11 years and eight months – soon after starting secondary school. But more than a million received a phone before they started primary school.
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The study also found that moms and dads spend an average £125 ($194) on their children's gadgets – and around £246 ($383) on their own mobiles.
But despite the cost, 42 percent said they did not pay close attention to their children's phone bills.
Parents claim they need to give their child a phone as security in case of emergencies and to give themselves peace of mind. Of course, we hear warnings that tell us giving a child their own phone could encourage them to become sedentary, wasting time in front of screens and browsing social networks rather than being actively at play.
"As well as arming kids with mobiles for emergencies and peace of mind, I'd imagine that many parents have bought their kids smartphones just to stop them commandeering their own when bored,” said Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.
According Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids, you should consider these important factors when determining if your child needs a cell phone or smartphone:
- Determine how they will use it
- Consider limiting calls to parents only
- For older kids who need more freedom, consider whether you'll allow them to make/receive calls to/from anyone they want
In the wake of tragedies such as Newtown, Conn., it’s no wonder parents are ready to give their kids mobile phones for safety reasons, but there are many other factors to consider as well.
Edited by Alisen Downey