Nearly one in 10 children has their first mobile phone by the time they are five, according to a new study.
The average child is given a handset at the age of 11 but nearly one in 10 has a phone at less than half this age.
Parents spend an average £125 on their youngster's gadgets - and around £246 on their own mobiles, the study found.
But despite the cost, more than four in 10 adults (42%) do not pay close attention to their children's phone bills and just a quarter (25%) cap their contracts.
Children spend an average £11 per month on their mobiles - less than parents who spend £19, the survey revealed. But more than one in 10 (11%) youngsters spends more than their mother or father.
The study, by comparison site uSwitch.com, found children were, on average, given their first mobiles soon after starting secondary school at 11 years and eight months. Some 9% of parents said they bought their youngsters a phone when they were five-years-old.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at 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."
He suggested parents place caps on their children's mobile bills. "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," he added.
According to the study, parents are likely to spend more money on their first-born's phone and bills than on those of any younger siblings.
Just a quarter of parents cap their children's contracts but fewer than one in 20 (3%) disable the data function on their phones so they are only able to use them to call and text.
Some 1,420 parents with children aged under 16 were consulted for the study.
With the same ultra-clear Retina display as the iPhone 5, but now with an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5s-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3898775.html?1378818683&utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">added fingerprint sensor</a>, a seriously impressive 64-bit A7 chip, an improved camera and a new gold design option, this is the best iPhone ever made. And with its consistent market-leading app selection, easy-to-use OS and delightful design, it's hard to argue against it being one of the very best gadgets ever made too.
Google LG Nexus 5
The new Nexus 5 is based on the internals of the LG G2 - which means you get the same Snapdragon 800 processor, as well as the full version of Google's new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, which integrates SMS messages into Hangouts, freshens up the design and adds new features under the hood. The camera is still a little lacking, while the design is functional rather than beautiful, but at £299 off contract it's still a steal.
Samsung Galaxy Note III
The Note III is huge. It's got a 5.7-inch screen, though with the same 1080P resolution as the Note II. It adds a new leather back panel, which gives it an 'office' feel in line with the productivity-plus-stylus theme of the device. It also adds a Snapdragon 8000 quad-core processor, some new software enhancements and a few new S-Pen functions into the mix. If you're looking for a giant note-taking phone, this is still your best bet.
The 5C was rumoured to be Apple's 'budget' iPhone. It isn't - and not only because it isn't that cheap. The "proudly plastic" 5C comes in five colours (see what they did there) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5c-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3899557.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">but has the same internals, screen and camera as the iPhone 5.</a> It's essentially the same beautiful, high-end phone you already know and love, in a more colourful (and potentially divisive) design. As such it's hard to see how Apple won't sell a billion of them.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Though the S4 i<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/samsung-galaxy-s4-review-_n_3145186.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">s in some ways an evolutionary upgrade over its wildly successful S3</a>, it's an extremely attractive, lightweight and high quality phone with a 5-inch HD screen, the fastest processor ever seen in a phone and <a href="http://gdgt.com/samsung/galaxy/s/4/" target="_blank">some interesting new features</a>, including a measure of 'eye tracking' controls and gestures that don't require you to touch the screen.
The HTC One is probably the most beautiful smartphone on the market - and is also the most intelligently designed. With twin, front-facing speakers it's the best choice for watching movies, and its 4MP 'Ultra Pixel' camera punches above its meagre pixel-count suggests.
Sony Xperia Z1
Sony's new flagship smartphone is an evolutionary development of the also-excellent Z. It keeps the same screen, the waterproof design and the nicely-tweaked version of Android, while upping the processor performance, improving the camera and smoothing out the rough (or rather sharp) edges of the Z's blocky design.
Nokia Lumia 925
<a href="http://gdgt.com/nokia/lumia/920/" target="_blank">The Nokia Lumia 925</a> has the same great design and attention to detail we've come to expect from Nokia, but with some crucial upgrades from the 920 including a thinner, all-metal design and an improved camera.
The LG G2 is an extremely high-end 5-inch, 1080p Android 4.2.2 smartphone whose major distinguishing feature is that it has three buttons on the back of the device, which are normally found on the sides. The G2 has its camera button and volume rocker on the rear, which for many people is enough to justify the purchase alone. It also has excellent battery life for this class of device.