Most children are now phone owners by the age of seven, with a big increase this year in the number of 5-10-year-olds who own their own mobile, according to the new CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2020.
The number of 5-16-year-olds with their own mobile phone has increased this year, following several years of little change. More than two out of three children now have their own handset. This year, young children have increasing access to mobile phones and they are using them for longer periods of time. With the majority of children now phone owners by age seven, average daily usage among 7-10 year olds has gone up by almost an hour a day.
Mobile ownership has faced strong competition from tablet computers over the last few years. However, the tide appears to be turning, with phone ownership back to levels last seen in 2012 and tablet usage taking a downturn.
Mobile phones have won over tablet computers and now dominate children’s lives. This year 47% of 5 to 10-year olds now have a mobile, up from 38% last year. However, it can be tough to parent your young child’s use of technology when the mobile phone is such a private and personal technology. The moment a child owns a mobile phone, it can be a challenge to monitor what your child is accessing online because it’s such a private technology that most keep, literally, close to their chest.
More kids of all ages are using their phones to access the internet, increasingly from their own room or when they are out and about. More than half admit to ‘always sleeping with their mobile next to the bed’ – and say they wouldn’t know what to do if they lost their device.
The amount of time that children spend online continues to increase overall, with boys remaining heavier internet users than girls. Children now say they spend 3.4 hours a day online, rising slightly from 3.3 last year.
Children’s increased use of their mobile to go online also has implications for what they choose to watch. It’s a new era for content and TV and a completely new way of doing things. Children are online all the time, checking in on their mobiles while out and about. Content is likely to get shorter and shorter to fit with this way of viewing.
Findings of the report also include…
The 2020 CHILDWISE Monitor is a comprehensive annual report looking at 5 to 16-year-olds media consumption, purchasing and social habits as well as key behaviour. More than 2000 children in schools across the United Kingdom completed in-depth online surveys for the report, which is now in its 26th year.
Mobile phone ownership and usage is up among kids – but it can be tough parenting this more private and personal technology