A newly-published report has shown that the average child gets their first mobile phone at the age of 11 years and 8 months old. However, 9% of children - an estimated 1,178,100 in the UK - are bought their first phone at the age of 5.
Although parents tend to spend almost twice as much on their own phones compared with their children’s handsets - an average £246 compared to £125 - the report found that 15% of children under 16 had mobiles worth more than their parents’ phones and 11% had larger bills than their parents.
It also found that 42% of parents didn’t monitor the mobile spending of their children and just 25% capped their childrens’ contracts.
The report was carried out amongst 1,420 parents last month and has been published by comparison website uSwitch.com.
Ernest Doku, Commercial Partnerships Managerat uSwitch.com, said “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. Smartphones are getting more affordable all the time, with entry-level models costing as little as £7 per month with a free phone or £29.99 for a SIM-free handset. So if you do give in to your kids’ requests, asking networks to place caps on their mobile bills takes about five minutes and is a very sensible precaution, especially if your child has a data-hungry smartphone. Make sure that when they’re at home, your kids are browsing the web using Wi-Fi instead of consuming data by connecting to the internet via 3G or 4G.”