A recent survey conducted by ORC International for National Consumers League found there are an increasing number of “tweens,” which are children aged 8 to 12, who have a cell phone.
The survey found nearly six out of 10 parents with tweens (56 percent) have provided their child with a cell phone, and this ranges between 62 percent in households of more than $100,000 annual income and 41 percent of $50,000 annual income. When it comes to getting their phone for the first time, 60 percent received their phone at 10 to 11, 15 percent got it at 12 and 20 percent were 8 to 9 years old.
The majority of parents (84 percent) bought their child a cell phone for safety reasons, 73 percent said to track after school activities and 16 percent reported because their child asked for one. When it comes to cost, 82 percent of parents said this was the determining factor in deciding which cell phone provider to use. In addition, more than half of the parents (52 percent) would consider switching cell phone services if they felt they were paying too much.
“This survey clearly shows that the use of cell phones is now becoming more entrenched at an earlier and earlier age in the U.S.,” said senior researcher at ORC International Graham Hueber. “However, even a substantial portion of parents who are comfortable with putting a smartphone in the hands of an eight year old have qualms about the resulting costs and are open to considering options to lower their child’s phone bill. This is likely going to mean that more and more parents will look for ways to pull the purse strings a little tighter, such as setting a budget or exploring prepaid cell phone options.”
According to KERP-TV, there are a number of questions a parent should ask before they opt to get a cell phone for their child. Parents should consider why their kid needs a phone, what the device would be used for as well as if their child is mature enough to deal with having a phone. Parents who feel they want their child to have a device, but do not necessarily trust them completely can install a parental control software, which can help the parent keep tabs on their child.