A survey by Influence Central has found that the age at which parents in the US give their children smartphones or a mobile device is 10 years old.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, the average age was 12 in 2012.
The survey, which interviewed 500 women, also found that half of the children in their families were on Facebook and Instagram by the age of 12.
Similar research by Bridgewater State University found that 12% of 20,000 eight-year-old US children it surveyed had their own mobile phones.
South African kids
Parenting expert Nikki Bush said the trend is the same in South Africa.
“The single most common official reason for parents giving a child a cellphone is for safety and security,” she told the Sunday Times.
“The most common unofficial reason is that the parents have finally given in to their children’s nagging.”
Bush said parents should give young children a basic device which only offers voice calls and SMS functionality.
She said giving your young child a smartphone with access to apps will “end in tears”.
Reasons for this include cyberbullying and expecting a child to look after an expensive piece of tech.
Give them a smartphone at 12
Bush said once a child turns 12, they can receive “a decent smartphone” that will allow them to coordinate their social life.
She said parents must do the following once they have given their child the device:
- Enforce strict data and airtime restrictions.
- Monitor usage and activity.
- Have access to the device.
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 18 September 2016.