Teen screen time

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New survey finds the average child receives their first smartphone at age 10 — but more parents are now turning to non-smartphones.

NEW YORK — Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but nearly six in 10 (59%) parents say they often text their kids to come downstairs for dinner instead of actually talking to them.

A survey of 2,000 parents of school-age children found the average kid will receive their first smartphone at 10 years-old. While tech continues to evolve, some things stay the same, as the average parent says they were 11 years-old when they got their first piece of personal tech, such as a desktop computer or laptop.

Seven in 10 (70%) parents say they trust their kids with tech, even though two-thirds (66%) have put parental controls on all their children’s devices for security. Six in 10 (62%) also believe tech is beneficial for kids’ social skills.

Parents say they decided to give their youngsters a smartphone to use for emergency purposes (55%), to help them gain tech skills for their future work (47%), and because they showed the maturity to own one (46%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cricket Wireless, the survey also revealed that two-thirds (67%) think their kids will have access to tech no matter how strict they are.

Flip phone revival for parents who want kids off smartphones

Half the poll have purchased or considered getting their kid a non-smartphone, or basic feature phone, with the goal of helping them to avoid “distraction apps” (65%) and to keep basic features like call and text without internet access (65%).

Interestingly, 54 percent of parents purchased their kids a basic feature phone – like a flip phone – to share their nostalgia of the ‘90s and early 2000s.

“Whether parents want to share their nostalgia for the ‘90s or limit internet access until their kids reach a certain age, it’s important for families to have choices in what level of technology their child uses,” says Tony Mokry, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer for Cricket Wireless, in a statement. “It’s about relying on connectivity for flexibility and security to keep parents and children safe and engaged whenever and wherever.”

The poll also quizzed kids, ages six to 18, on their knowledge of older tech devices. When presented with images of old gadgets, almost half (49%) were unable to identify a landline. Only 28 percent knew what a floppy disk was and just 26 percent were able to name and explain how to use an answering machine.

Half of parents (51%) say their kids have been on their family phone plan for an average of 3.6 years. Of those parents, nine in 10 feel their child is using their device as they anticipated, such as for school, e-learning, and social purposes.

Seventy percent would be more open about getting their kids a tablet, smartphone, or smartwatch if they knew how their youngsters could use these devices safely and effectively. “With back to school approaching, having your kids on your family phone plan provides an affordable option to help your family stay connected so they can do more of what makes them happy,” Mokry says.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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1 Comment

  1. BuckWheat says:

    Has anyone else noticed how nearly everyone seems to be attached to their phone and just about never communicates verbally? That is unless they feel that they are being abused and then they scream their lungs out.