Smartphone use rising among young kids

Wednesday, 15 March, 2023

Smartphone use rising among young kids

Two out of five Australian children own their own smartphone, according to research by Finder.

Finder’s ‘Parenting Report 2023’ surveyed 1033 Australian parents of children under 12, and found that 37% now have a smartphone — an increase from 35% in 2021, and 22% in 2018.

The research also found almost one in 10 (8%) were given a smartphone between ages five and seven.

Mariam Gabaji, utilities expert at Finder, said more kids are using smartphones than ever before.

“Mobile phones are a huge part of our lives — it’s no surprise children are being introduced to the technology at a young age,” she said.

“Whether it’s for entertainment purposes or to stay in touch, it depends on personal circumstances as to when you think your child is old enough to own their own smartphone.

“Many parents view them as necessary for keeping their kids connected and safe, especially if they need to get in touch with them when they’re not around.”

Finder’s research found almost two-thirds of kids under 12 still don’t have a smartphone (63%), while 5% got their first smartphone before the age of five.

Children from New South Wales are the most likely to be plugged into the world of tech, with 44% of kids owning their own smartphone before age 12. This is followed by 35% in Victoria, and 32% in Queensland.

Gabaji said parents typically choose prepaid plans for their kids to avoid getting hit with excess charges.

“You don’t want to be spending a fortune on your kid’s mobile plan. These days, most plans come with unlimited talk and text, so data is key to look out for.

“You also want to consider which network the mobile plan is on. This will give you peace of mind that your child won’t have trouble getting through to you wherever they are and vice versa.

“If your kid’s big on streaming and video calling on the go, you might consider opting for a decent data allowance instead of paying excess charges or topping up data on the fly.

“Some mobile providers even offer features to address cyber safety if you’re concerned about their screen time and safety online,” Gabaji said.

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