When should a child get their first phone?

Wondering when your child should get their first phone? Read some stats here to help you make the best choice.

Honest Mobile
Fri Sep 10 2021

Deciding when to let your child have their first phone can feel like a big decision. Everyone has an opinion on the right time and because there aren’t any laws – like when they’re learning to drive a car – it can be difficult to know when is right.

So at what age should a child have a phone?

As a parent or guardian, you know what’s best for your child. But sometimes it can be helpful to have some stats to help you make an informed decision.

Here are some facts and figures that might help you decide when you want to give your child their first phone as well as some things to consider when giving your child their first phone.

What’s the average age for a child to get their first phone in the UK?

11 years old is the average age for a child to get their first phone in the UK.

What percentage of 6 year olds have a smartphone?

10% of 6 year olds have a smartphone.

What proportion of 10 year olds now own their own smartphone?

Half of 10 year olds have their own smartphone.

What percentage of 12 year olds have their own smartphone?

88% of 12 year olds have their own smartphone.

What percentage of Brits think parents or carers should stop children from spending too much time in front of screens?

50% of Brits think parents or carers should limit children’s screen time.

What percentage of children have a social media profile?

Between the ages of 8-11, 21% of children have a social media profile.Between the ages of 12-15, 71% of online users have a social media profile.

What percentage of children who own a mobile phone are allowed to take it to bed?

71% of children aged 12-15 who own a mobile phone are allowed to take it bed (that’s 62% of all children aged 12-15).

How long does the average child spend on their phone each day?

Estimates vary but the average amount is around 2 hours a day. 

Helpful tips when giving your child their first phone

1. Set a bill cap on their SIM

you can easily manage this bill cap in the Honest Mobile app. We have child-view only mode that means your child can see how much data they’ve used but only you can upgrade or downgrade their plan and change their bill cap.

2. Block adult content

Adult content includes gambling and pornography. At Honest, we block this automatically and ask members to verify they’re 18+ if they want to unblock it.

3. Set ground rules

We suggest setting some clear rules with your kid about when and for what they can use their phone. Talk to them about the importance of looking after their mental and physical wellbeing.

Talking about the impact of social media on mental health and the impact of eye strain and dry eyes from spending too much time looking at screens will help them understand why they need limits to their phone use.

4. Speak about cyberbullying

Make sure they know what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour online and that they know they can talk to you if they’re worried about someone else’s behaviour.

5. Charge in a separate room at night

One of the best things you can do is keep your child’s phone out of their bedroom at night. Using a phone before bed can have a negative impact on sleep. This will make sure they get a good nights sleep!

6. Monitor your child’s usage

When you add your child’s SIM to your account, our smart notifications and app let you monitor your child’s phone usage.

7. Buy a (cheaper) refurbished phone

Buying a refurbished phone is a great option if you’re looking to save some pennies. It’s also a much better option for the planet 🌎 

8. Buy a phone case and screen protector

This will help their phone last as long as possible – and survive the school playground or the park!

9. Insure their phone

If you think it’s likely that your kid could lose or damage their phone, it’s worth thinking about getting insurance. We recommend checking out Arma Karma – an ethical phone insurer.

10. Use it as a tool to help your kid learn

A phone is almost as powerful as a computer these days and there are some great apps available to help your child learn new skills while having fun and playing games. Apps can help with mental arithmetic, spelling and even learning to code.

Pick your first phone number

With Honest, you can pick your phone number. So your child can choose their first mobile number – which they could end up keeping forever. Once you’ve ordered your free SIM you can choose which number you want in the app when you activate it.  

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