Average Age of Owning First Phone Has Dropped Six Years in Past Decade

Press Release   •   Aug 09, 2013 15:46 BST

As part of ongoing research into the mobile phone habits and personal preferences of those around the UK, mobile phone comparison site has carried out a study to look into the age at which children are now receiving their first mobile phones; revealed to be just ‘7.5 years’ old on average.

The study polled two groups of people in order to provide a comparison between the ages at which people had their first mobile phones 10 years ago, and the age at which children now receive their first handset. 1,110 adults aged between 25 and 30 were subsequently asked how old they were when they got their first mobile phone. As well as this, 1,221 parents of children aged 15 and under, all of whom had a mobile phone, were questioned about the age at which they first allowed their child to have their own handset.

For adults aged 25-30, the average age of receiving a first mobile phone came out at ‘13.2 years old’; with all answers from respondents taken into account. 91% of those polled were set up on a pay-as-you-go phone by their parents, with the majority, 44%, claiming that the model of their first phone was a ‘Nokia 3310’.

86% of those aged 25-30 admitted that they had to pester their parents to allow them to own a handset, with ‘looking cool’ (51%)  and ‘peer pressure’ (33%) topping the list of the main reasons as to why they wanted their first mobile phone.

In contrast to this, the study revealed that the average UK parent is now allowing their child to own a mobile phone for the first time at the primary school age of ‘7.5 years old’, a full six years younger than a decade ago. 61% of the parents taking part admitted that they had set up pay monthly contracts for their children as opposed to pay as you go.

Three quarters, 74%, of parents listed ‘safety of children and to help peace of mind’ as the main reason why they bought their child a mobile phone. In addition to this, 22% admitted that they felt that it was the ‘right thing to do’ as they had seen friends and peers buy children of the same age phones, and wanted to follow suit.

Adam Cable, Director of, commented on the results of the research:

“There is no doubt that the past decade has been revolutionary in the development of mobile phones, particularly with the emergence of smartphones such as the apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy. This is definitely highlighted by our research- finding that the age of owning your first phone has dropped dramatically, no doubt because they’re not only more accessible but widely accepted for younger generations.”

He continued:

“Despite the argument that parents want to keep their children safe at all times, many may think that seven years old is far too young to own a mobile phone.  However, I have seen four year olds who can work their parent’s iPhone or iPad perfectly well.  The protection of children is a obviously a key factor in their usage of mobile phones, but as long as the proper precautions are taken to ensure maximum safety of children using handsets, then they absolutely have their benefits.”



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