Nearly a fifth of five- to six-year-olds own their own mobile phone, a new report has found.
This jumps to 41% by the time children are aged seven to eight, and increases to 59% for nine- and 10-year-olds. By age 11, nine in ten have their own phone (91%), with no difference between boys and girls, the Childwise Monitor 2018 report found.
“The mobile phone is now the go-to device for children’s media activity, whether it is listening to music, checking social media or catching up on the latest Netflix series in their bedroom,” says Simon Leggett, research director of Childwise.
The report, which included responses from more than 2,000 children, showed 83% of 11- to 12-year-olds, 96% of 13- to 14-year-olds and 95% of 15- to 16-year-olds own a mobile phone.
Mobile phone ownership among children reached peak levels in 2008 (then 73%, now 64%), but has reduced due to the introduction of tablets and computers in more recent years.
On average, children spend three hours a day using their phone for activities such as messaging, playing games and going online (down from 3.1 hours in 2016). However, one in six child phone owners (15%) claim to be using their phone for six or more hours a day.
As part of the report, kids were asked what activities they used their phone for most: Making and receiving calls (72%), accessing the internet (71%) and instant messaging (71%) were the top three.
Other popular activities included playing games (66%), downloading apps (65%) and using the camera to take pictures (61%).
Less popular activities included taking video clips (45%), using Bluetooth (38%) and health and fitness tracking (21%).
Three out of five children with phones use them to access social media content (61%), an activity favoured by more girls than boys (68% vs. 54%), and increases steadily with age.
The CHILDWISE Monitor report is an annual survey looking at five- to 16-year-olds media consumption. More than 2,000 children in schools across the United Kingdom completed in-depth online surveys for the report.