Ten per cent of kids have a smartphone

One in ten UK kids owns an iPhone, according to a survey which also says five per cent have an Ipad.

Security firm Westcoastcloud asked 2,000 parents with children aged 10 and under about their gadgets and found that one in ten parents thinks it’s OK for children as young as four to own a mobile phone. Furthermore, 17 per cent of the parents polled said they had bought their child a mobile phone following much pestering.

Typically, parents said they considered that by the time a child reaches the age of 10, they were happy for them to own a smartphone. More than two thirds (68 per cent) said the handset helped them keep tabs on their children’s whereabouts.

Nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) of parents pay for their child’s mobile phone, although two thirds said the handset is on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than a monthly tariff. Three quarters claim the phone bill costs £10 per month, although five per cent admit their child racks up £20 worth of calls and texts per month.

Half of parents surveyed own a smartphone, while 72 per cent have their own laptop or tablet PC. Of these, 15 per cent said their child regularly uses their smartphone and ten per cent log on to their parent’s laptop.

On average, kids spend around three hours a week online, but half of parents admit to not using parental controls on internet-connected devices in the home. Furthermore, 22 per cent argue with their child about the amount of time spent online.

“It’s great that youngsters are interested and engaged with the latest technology, but children owning their own phones as young as four does seem unnecessary,” said Bill Strain, director of Westcoastcloud.

“Kids will always be able to gain access to their parents’ phones and laptops but when primary school age children gain access to the internet on these devices, parents need to be aware. There’s the potential that they could access unsuitable or potentially harmful content.”

Westcoastcloud also revealed nearly ten per cent of children aged ten and under have a social account, despite Facebook and MySpace stating the minimum user age is 13. A quarter of parents also admitted their child had an email account.


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