LONDON — How young is too young when it comes to owning a smartphone? Believe it or not, according to a new study, a quarter of children six and under actually own a mobile device.
Researchers with musicMagpie, a company that helps people declutter by selling their unwanted electronics online, conducted the study after they noted a 300% increase year-over-year in customers who were buying first-time phones for their children. A third of parents made the purchase simply because their kids asked, while one in five bought it to keep the little ones entertained.
Though the study didn’t indicate how many parents were surveyed, the results showed that most agreed 11 was the “ideal” age for children to receive their first smartphone. Nonetheless, the stunning findings showed 25% of parents purchased devices for children six and under. What’s worse, nearly half of those kids spent as much as 21 hours per week on the devices.
“The age at which children get their first phones, has got even younger, and while many agree that there’s no defined age to give a child a phone, there’s a lot parents can do to ensure their child’s day-to-day life isn’t consumed by one,” says musicMagpie spokesman Liam Howley in a press release.
Clearly, parents being more proactive with their children when it comes to screen time would be a good start for help. Eight in 10 parents surveyed said they don’t limit the amount of time their kids can use their smartphones.
“From restricting the time they spend on the device, to keeping a close eye on what they are downloading, there are many steps parents can go through to limit usage,” says Howley.
Another option would be to disable the data function, allowing kids to only used their phones to make calls or send texts. Just a quarter of parents take advantage of this feature, the study found.