Over 1m UK kids get their first mobile before the age of 5

Alan O'Doherty
August 23, 2013

A survey conducted by has shown that the average child in the UK gets their first mobile phone aged 12 but that over one million receive their first handset when they’re still under the age of 5.

The figures also revealed that most kids will be using lower end handsets with the average worth just £125 but, less surprisingly, one in ten kids under 16 will have a mobile worth more than their parents’.

The study surveyed 1420 parents with kids under the age of 16 to gain information on the average age when they receive their first mobile phone, how much they spend each month, how much they spend initially on the handset and how much control parents have over their spending.

While youngsters with high-price handsets isn’t all that surprising it’s perhaps a little more likely to raise an eyebrow that 42% of parents said they did not monitor their kid’s mobile spending habits, despite footing the bill each month. 25% said that they had put their youngsters on a capped contract to limit what they were able to spend while 3% of parents admitted to really laying down the law, disabling data on their kids contracts so they were limited to just calls and texts.

However, the study also revealed that parents reported a fairly modest spend of £11 to £12 on their kids phone bills, but with almost half of them also admitting to not checking this casts more than a little doubt on how accurate their guess might be.

Discussing the affordability of smartphones for youngsters Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at uSwitch said “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.”

Is 12 too young for a first mobile? Or have smartphones gone from being an indulgence to a necessity, even in the tween market?

About the Author

Share this article