Would You Give A 6yr Old A Phone?

Would You Give A 6yr Old A Phone?

Does your child have a smart phone?

One in four children kids under the age of SIX do, according to new research.

Despite consensus among parents that 11 is the ‘ideal’ age for children to have a phone, 25 per cent of children aged six and under already have their own mobile, with nearly half of those spending up to 21 hours per week on their devices. And 77 per cent of parents paid up to £500 for their child's first phone, with two-thirds admitting they don’t cap the monthly spend.

The research was conducted by musicMagpie after they saw a 300 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of customers purchasing refurbished phones as the ‘first phone’ for their child.

Spokesman Liam Howley said: “Smartphones have become the most important piece of technology we own, connecting us with friends, keeping us updated on the world around us, and letting us capture our biggest moments."

“While the majority of parents in our study stated 11 was the ‘acceptable’ age for children to have their own phones, we saw that 25 per cent of children aged six and under actually already owned one."

Researchers also found eight in 10 parents don’t limit the amount of time children spend on their phones while 75 per cent don’t disable the data function so their children are only able to call and text.

A third of parents allowed their children to have a phone after they asked for one, giving into their constant pleas, while one in five purchased a phone to keep their child entertained.

Other than making calls and sending messages, it also emerged that 38 per cent of children used their mobile phone to play games.

Youngsters also use their smartphones to listen to music, watch videos and use Snapchat.

When it comes to phone manufacturers, Samsung was the most popular ‘first phone’ brand, beating Apple to the top spot.

As the mother of an almost-five-year-old, there is more chance of hell freezing over than there is of me buying my pre-schooler a phone of her own within the next year – refurbished or not.

Interestingly, my youngest tends to get things at an early age compare to her peers, largely due to the fact that there's a big age gap between her and her brothers, so she's exposed to everything from toys and games to films and apps that other children of her age probably wouldn't be. As a case in point, she already knows how to play Pokemon and has watched her first Star Wars movie.

But I draw the line at giving her a phone. She'll have to wait, as her brothers did, to finish primary school before that happens.

But we'd love to hear your views on this. Would you give a phone to a six year old child, or do you think that's way too young to own your first phone?

Leave us a comment here or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page.


59 comments

  • Elaine P.

    Nope. Hes 10 snd still too young. He has a tablet and gps tracker watch. So when hes out he can call home and i can call him. Only for safety. No need for a phone just yet. Kids arent young for long and this world makes them grow up too quick if you follow the crowd

  • Chelsey T.

    My four year old got bought a kids tablet for Christmas last year, I ‘forget’ to put it on charge. She also LOVES my iPad so it is constantly dead in the fear that she may find wherever I have hidden it. I have a passionate hate for her being on them. She gets the odd half an hour where I cave in but it’s near impossible to get her off it once she’s on. Not a chance on earth of her having a phone in the next few years ! Who’s she going to phone, peppa pig ? Ridiculous

    • Jen G.

      Have you tried YouTube kids app? We’ve got it for our little boy as you can restrict what he watches and set timers and when the timers finished they can’t watch anything till you put in a passcode. Works wonders for us in being able to limit how long he’s on for x

    • Paula T.

      My 4 yr old got a fire tablet for Christmas. He goes on it about twice a wk (when he remembers he has it). I limit the time he has on it.... usually 10 minutes. Even then he starts getting rosy cheeks! He was getting all stressed about playing the Gruffalo game last time he was on! I'm so glad he's not that fussed for it. I wouldn't let him on it more even if he was! Far too young for screen time. Unfortunately parents use them as babysitters. As for a phone.....that's ridiculous. Peppa pig :joy::joy::joy:

  • Toni J.

    My children get mobiles when they start secondary not before

  • Donna P.

    No way, we have an iPad which they are allowed to use under supervision and I put a timer on but I refuse to let them watch YouTube! They won’t have their own for a very long time, they are ages 5,3&3.

  • Natalie S.

    I think when they start going out to mates houses then maybe yeah ..but not this young :sob:

  • Sam K.

    My eldest does, he's in yr 8. Middle one in yr 5, he got one for his bday but no sim, he uses it like a tablet. Youngest is 6 and she won't be getting one anytime soon.

  • Grace A.

    We have a Kindle Fire that he watched Cbeebies on now and again, but that's it.

  • Claire B.

    Kindles with 1.5 hours play time, max 5 hours a day apps I’ve added and parent controls not to be used before or after 8 am and pm phones at secondary school as there’s an increase in independence and times there be alone e.g catching the bus x

  • Claire B.

    My daughter turns 11 next month and is getting her 1st phone for her birthday....this is due to her starting secondary school in Sept and travelling by bus. Kids should be allowed to enjoy childhood x

  • Claire K.

    No 6yo needs a phone! My eldest 2 got phones whn they turned 10, in prep for secondary sch. Tho tbf middle child uses it mostly as a tablet but does txt he's older cousin regularly which is great as they don't often see each other. My youngest has a tablet to play games & watch YouTube, he will use my phone to play the odd game on if we're out. He too will get his own phone whn he's 10 but not before.

  • Linda O.

    They should be learning to read and write at that age not play on a phone :disappointed_relieved::rage:

  • Alana B.

    Why would a 6 year old need a smart phone ? Crazy

  • Helen E.

    Nope. Told mine when they are 11 and go to senior school. They are only 5 though :joy:

  • Rachal E.

    Reading these comments makes me feel so much better!! My eldest turned 10 today and he has always been told on his 11th birthday he can have a phone ready for secondary school. He got an Xbox xmas 16 and a tablet with no SIM xmas just gone. He is always with me anyway so why does he need a phone!!

    • Nicola D.

      Exactly! My son has been asking for a phone for 3 years and I've told him the same thing, he turned 11 last month and we got him one as he starts high school in September - he uses it mostly to send silly Snapchats to his dad lol :joy::joy:

    • Rachal E.

      I just dont see the need in it yet, even when he does get 1 it won't be the latest model (not cruel enough to get him a Nokia 3310 :joy:) it will prob be a samsung s6 or iphone 6, He needs to learn to look after his stuff and understand if it breaks it costs to fix it.

    • Donna B.

      100% agree, Let kids be kids xx

    • Nicola D.

      Very true, I had a limit on what we would spend on his although he has ended up with a decent phone on contract but only £13.50 a month, with a severe talking to that it's a big responsibility and he has to look after it well! He even decided not to go out with it in the holidays because he was worried he might lose it lol :wink::joy:

    • Rachal E.

      For all those saying it's the 21st century, I know this, he knows how to work a phone, send a text and even video call but if he wants to do it he can send it off my phone! He needs to learn responsibility and earn something as valuable as a phone not just get it coz its "with the times". :grin:

  • Nikki S.

    My son is 6 and there is no way he is getting a phone. He is too young for a number of reasons . When he starts secondary school we will have a rethink. I think children have phones far too young these days!!

  • Leigh B.

    My eldest got her first smartphone when she was 11 and starting high school. I don’t understand why a child under the age of 6 would need a smartphone. My 5yr old and 3yr old have tablets to play games on or watch YouTube videos and even then I limit the time they spend on them. Kids need to be kids not stuck indoors with their face in a screen x

  • Karen F.

    Absolutely not, our 5 yr old has a tablet which is hardly used but when she's on it it's limited to 1 hour a day & the Web is switched off, why would a 6 year old need a phone?

  • Lindsey M.

    Why why why. Read a book, have a tea party, collect snails climb trees etc etc. Experince things and use imagination at this age. And as parents interact with them. Phones are for secondary school ages in my opinion!!!

  • Katy B.

    Absolutely not, at 6? No way! My 6 year old doesn’t play computer games or use the iPad that much and that’s the way I want to keep it, as long as I possibly can anyway. He has a DS but doesn’t use it that much :thumbsup:

  • Claire B.

    We’ve literally just given our eldest an old iPhone (4s, so it’s about 7 years old), he’s nearly 11. We have rules regarding him using it and us checking it, it’s fully set up with parental controls and we put £10 a month credit on it, no more. I wouldn’t dream of giving a six year old a phone.

  • Liz L.

    No, it’s ridiculous

  • Rita W.

    I was in the Doctors waiting room and this little girl no older than 12 mths was playing up her Mum went into her Bag and got her Smart Phone out and there was silence all the time she was there

  • Kelly F.

    Mine have always had a phone when they started secondary school my son is 9 and wants one which I’m debating about as he can contact me when he goes to his dads. If not it will be next year when he goes to secondary school.

  • Pamela M.

    I’ve said not til secondary school, or just before so they can get used to using it and carrying it/looking after it before hand. Eldest’s birthday is August so possibly Xmas in y6. I’m feeling the pressure though as several in her y4 class have them already. I’ve seen them with them so it’s not just her saying people have them. Both kids have kindle fire tablets with timer locks on and they tend to only have them an hour some days, not all days, but more some rainy school holidays maybe!! Lol. We’ve installed a children’s messenger app for them to message family safely to train them up before they start messaging friends on phones for real. I can control and monitor this. Was exciting for a few days but novelty has worn off which is fine. They aren’t old enough to go out without an adult so don’t need a phone. They’ve always got someone with them who can contact me or be contacted.

    • Rebecca-Jayne H.

      Can I ask what messenger they use hun? My children use monster messenger as it seems the simplest and safest I found x

    • Pamela M.

      Yes it’s the monster messenger app. Came across it when a colleague mentioned it so had a look and it seems good.

  • Andy H.

    We live in the 21st century, where the screen is what will define our evolution. My 5 year old has a fully functioning iPhone and an iPad. Like it or not, this generation of children are growing up with technology being a huge part of their lives. Having these doesn’t stop her picking up crayons, paint, pens and paper. They don’t stop her wanting to ride a bike, scooter or skateboard. She’d rather do any of those, but she has the option. I just love that she knows how to operate these smart devices. I’m pleased that she can independently call family that she loves to talk to. I like that she’s put me in awkward situations by face timing me while I’m at work. And I love it that she has learnt to spell with text messages (I turned all the predictive assistants off!)

    • Kari P.

      Same here, my 5year old has a phone but not fully functional yet, just wifi. She loves to WhatsApp her godmother, grandmother and aunty. These are the only numbers on her phone! She is learning how to spell really quickly by doing this. I also feel that children need to learn how technology works these days as it is (unfortunately) a big part of our life now.

  • Rachel S.

    My daughter will be 8 in October - never even heard the words come out of her mouth! Not that she would have a chance in hell of getting on anyway :joy:

  • Hana S.

    My 6 year old has my old iPhone, with no SIM card and uses it for music and apps that I installed.

  • George Y.

    Each to their own I say. Who am I to judge another parents decision?

  • WendyandStuart S.

    9 and 12 and no they don’t x

  • Gemma L.

    Its just a small tablet, we gave our son one, but he cant make calls from it.

  • Abigail K.

    No way, even at 12 they don't need a smart phone, a basic mobile phone for calling/texting perhaps but even then I don't think its a necessity.

  • Charlotte M.

    My 8 year old has a smart phone & I pad and her sisters have iPads they are 2 & 6. Dont think the 6 year old needs a phone yet but can have one when she’s 8. People don’t always have landlines now & a payphone you hardly ever see. I want to know if she needs to get hold of me when at a party or someone’s house she can she maybe in a situation when she can’t ask the parents to use the phone. She mostly uses it for games & wats app where she talks to family members.

  • Cariad N.

    Having and using is completely different. Each to their own but personally feel it's too young to have their own mobile at that age. Plus I don't think there is a need at that age. Might be slightly different if the child has separated parents and spends their time between both, but that could also cause more friction. My 6 year old uses tablets and occasionally might play on my phone once in a blue moon, but wouldn't even consider getting her, her own phone for a good few years regardless if any of her friends have them or not.

  • Mark S.

    Not by 6. I think it’s important for them to play outside and get fresh air. I’m not judging anyone else but I feel it’s too soon for us. Never done me any harm being outside exploring and having adventures.

  • Jean E.

    No ! breeding a nation of non communicators

  • Kerry J.

    My daughter is 6 yrs old and has a mobile and tablet. She has a mobile as she has a 23 yr old sister. They snapchat and Whatsapp together. I don’t see it as an issue as I monitor what she does on her phone and she knows what she can and can’t do with it.

  • Jane D.

    Thanks they both have our old iPads - am not quite ready for phone traumas!!

  • Rebecca B.

    A bit different, but our 6 year old has a mobile phone. She has Type1 diabetes and the phone connects to a sensor on her stomach to read her glucose levels. I always feel the need to justify why she has a phone when people see her looking at it when we’re out and about. Silly, but how I feel. She’s allowed to take photos on it too. Apart from that she’s really not bothered. She’s happier running about and playing.

  • Carol I.

    My 4 year old and 9 year old use our iPad for probably an hour a day each but only when I put the password in and allow them to do so. My 9 year old does have an iphone (a very old 4s) but again can only use it when I put the password in and it has no sim in it so can only message his friends via WiFi. I will pay for a sim when he starts secondary school

  • Amanda M.

    7yo has an old phone of mine to play games on, but there's no SIM card. She probably won't get one with a SIM until secondary school.

  • Gillian H.

    No phones til high school but all 4 of my kids have a tablet, laptop and computer. My youngest has high functioning autism as does two of his siblings. He is the most severe. If sitting on a chair watching endless videos in Korean/Indian of kids unwrapping giant easter eggs keeps him sat at a table while we are out and not stimming/melt down then I’m all for it so you who stare and judge him can have your tea in peace. My 8 year old watches so many documentaries on you tube from the Titanic, WWW1-2..Cold stream guards, the Royals and British History and has so much knowledge...He plays Roblox and has built games for a disabled boy whilst playing. He can touch type with his thumbs and two fingers. He wants to be a programmer when he’s older.... He still loves trips to the park weather permitting, swimming, cycling, scootering and going to play areas. It’s 2018...But I still say no to the phone until high school.

  • Anna J.

    These comments get on my nerves. Do people really think 5 year olds are using phones to make calls to friends ect lol. I let my daughter have my old iPhone, she can only use it with WiFi to play her games or watch videos on when she’s in the house, it’s just like a small tablet. She doesn’t take it out and she (and I’m sure other kids her age) isn’t using it for FaceTime/whatsapp /chatting ect. My little girl loves playing outdoors, playing toys, colouring, learning, she gets plenty of fresh air/days outs ect. I’d just rather her use a device which has all her bits/games downloaded on then be on mine, what’s the big deal lol x

  • Sarah M.

    why on earth would a child under the age of six need a phone?? if my 4 year old daughter wanted to speak to family then I'd ring and she could speak to them on my phone. There's no way on earth id buy her a mobile, there's just no need. She has a tablet and rarely uses that. A phone at 6 years old is ridoculous.

  • Peggy B.

    No they need to learn to talk to other people

  • Gary T.

    My daughter won't be getting a phone till at least 14.

  • Sheree W.

    nope not a chance! my son is 5... when he goes to comp then he will have one

  • Sheree W.

    nope not a chance! my son is 5... when he goes to comp then he will have one. I want him to play in garden and enjoy fresh air and the outdoors, not stuck on some game indoors festering in his room

  • Zoe L.

    No way! Why does a six year old need a phone?

  • Pauline B.

    My 6 yr olds Dad (we have been split for 4 yrs) decided to buy him a smart phone because he was adamant I was the reason his son didn’t phone him every day. He only gets to go on it for 10 minutes of an evening to text or call his dad to keep my life simple. I tend to find that because of his age it’s out of sight out of mind, he had looked at it once in the last week. I won’t be encouraging him to use it as I don’t think he needs to be sat on a phone rather than be present in the moment with the people that are with him

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