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Kid on mobile phone

More than a million British children get their first mobile phone by the time they are just five years old, uSwitch research reveals.

According to the study, the typical British child gets their first handset by the age of 12, costing just £125 on average, which is a little more than half of what parents spend on their own mobile devices.

Young ‘uns also spend about £11 per month on mobile bills, compared to £19 by their parents. However, more than one in ten (11%) children end up with bigger outlays than their old folks.

In something of a shocking revelation, 42 per cent of mums and dads admit they seldom check how much their children are spending on mobile phones, with just a quarter of parents bothering to place caps on their kids’ contacts.

While mobile ownership by children is not a new phenomenon in Britain, the age at which many kids now receive their first mobile phone suggests that parents find it easier to contact and safeguard their little ones by equipping them with an affordable handset.

Commenting on the findings, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: “As well as arming kids with mobiles for emergencies and peace of mind, I’d imagine that many parents have bought their kids smartphones just to stop them commandeering their own when bored. 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.

“So if you do give in to your kids’ requests, asking networks to place caps on their mobile bills takes about five minutes and is a very sensible precaution, especially if your child has a data-hungry smartphone. Make sure that when they’re at home, your kids are browsing the web using Wi-Fi instead of consuming data by connecting to the internet via 3G or 4G.”

Are you a parent? Do you think a child as young as five should own a mobile phone? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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