Should a Nine Year Old Have a Cell Phone?

Your nine year old child comes to you and says “can I have my own cell phone?” Your first reaction might be “definitely not,” which gets the response, “but all my friends have their own cell phones.” At that point, you scratch you head and wonder what other parents are saying to their kids.

Retrevo studies how people use gadgets in everyday life and publishes the results in their Gadgetology Reports. A recent report looked at parenting and gadgets asking questions such as, what age should children get their first cell phone, their own computer, TV, or even social media page? If you are raising children or know someone who is, you might want to check out the results of this study to see how other parents deal with their kids and gadgets in the digital age.

A Child's First Cell Phone
The most popular age for a child's first cell phone was 13 – 18 years old with almost 61% of parents indicating a child's passage into their teenage years was the right time for a cell phone. That said, over 31% of the parents of children younger than 9 would lower that age to (under 12)9 -12 especially since they probably planning on buying them a phone soon. The age goes up for the majority of parents of teenagers with 70% saying it’s okay for a (child 13 and over)13 year old to get a phone. Fortunately for today's youth, only about 5% of parents thought kids should wait until they graduated high school.
Kids Are Getting Computers Before They Get Cell Phones
When it came to a child's first computer the accepted age was lower than for cell phones with over 36% of parents saying age 9 – 12 was the right age for a computer. Many parents (31%) even said it was okay to get a child younger than 9 years old a computer. We guess after the kids pass the kindergarten entrance exam it's time for their own laptop. Once again, parents of younger children were more likely to lower the laptop bar with 73% of parents of children younger than 9 saying a child could get their first computer before they turn 12 compared to almost half that number (61%) of parents of 9 – 12 year olds. We wonder if the Apple iPad will lower that age further.

Kids May Have to Wait For Their Own TV

In many households a TV may be an effective “baby sitter” or even "tutor" especially for today’s “modern” parent as 48% of parents of children younger than 9 indicated they would get a child their own TV before they turn 12 and 51% of that same group saying a TV is okay before their child turns 12. Otherwise almost 53% of responding parents indicated kids need to wait until they are 13 or older with over 23% saying they should be older than 18 for that first TV. Hey kids, you can always watch TV on your computer while you're waiting for your own TV.
Should You Get Gadget Insurance?
Kids will be kids and we could have guessed what the responses would be to the question about losing gadgets. Not surprisingly it turns out the most common gadget for kids to have lost or stolen is, guess what…a cell phone. Over 24% of parents said their kids had gone through at least one cell phone. This was followed by MP3 players and gaming devices. Surprisingly, laptops were low on the list. The most likely age group to lose a device was 9 -12 year olds where more than half the parents of this age group indicated their kids have lost a cell phone, gaming device, MP3 player, etc.
It sure looks like some gadgets are filling roles in children's lives that help determine what age kids get their first gadgets. Today's parents of children younger than 9 might be using a TV as baby sitter and educator and so the TV becomes their baby's first gadget. This is followed by the computer that could help their kids get a competitive advantage. After the TV and laptop comes the cell phone to keep tabs on the kid's whereabouts. We did notice an interesting trend where parents of younger children tended to go with lower ages for their kids first gadgets. In other words, younger parents are getting their younger kids gadgets at younger ages.
About Retrevo Gadgetology
The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com. The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted by an independent panel. The sample size was just over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.

For more information contact:
Jennifer Jacobson
Director of Public Relations
press "at" retrevo.com

To Download High Resolution Charts For This Study Click Here

For More Stuides Visig Retrevo's Gadgetology Page


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