Children Use of Mobile Phones – Survey Results

To better understand the landscape for families and mobile phones, AT&T commissioned GfK for a national study with 1,000 parents and 500 children ages 8–17.

The study found that:

Kids start receiving mobile phones in grade school

  • Kids receive their first mobile phone, on average, at age 12.1.
  • Of the kids who have a mobile phone, 34% have a smartphone.

Mobile issues are very real for kids

  • More than half (53%) of kids report that they have ridden with someone who was texting and driving.
  • More than 1 in 5 kids (22%) say they’ve been bullied via a text message from another kid.
  • Almost half (46%) of kids ages 11–17 say they have a friend who has received a message or picture that their parents would not have liked because it was too sexual.

Kids are willing to accept rules

  • 90% of kids think it’s OK for parents to set rules on how kids can and cannot use the phone.
  • 66% of kids have rules at home about use of their phone; 92% of these kids think they are fair — and this is consistent across age groups and types of phone (i.e., mobile phone and smartphone).

… but aren’t necessarily getting them

  • Only 66% of kids say their parents have rules on how they can and cannot use their phone. Rules are much more common among younger kids.
  • 38% of kids say their parents have not talked to them about staying safe and secure when using the mobile phone.
  • 77% of kids age 8–11 and 74% of kids age 12–14 say they have rules, compared to only 58% of kids age 15–17.

Mobile phones are a kid’s go-to device

  • If kids had to choose one technology device for the rest of their lives, the majority say they would choose a mobile phone above all else — computer, television, tablet.
  • 75% of kids think their friends are addicted to phones.

Not all parents are using or are aware of the tools at their disposal

  • 62% of parents are concerned that they are not able to fully monitor everything their child is doing and seeing on the phone.
  • 2 out of 5 kids with a mobile phone say their parents have not talked to them about staying safe and secure when using the mobile phone.
  • 58% of parents say that their mobile phone provider offers tools or resources for parents to address issues like overages, safety, security and monitoring.
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