Surprising: One-Third of American 11-Year-Olds Carry A Mobile

Boy on a mobile phone, used via Creative Commons

eMarketer, an online research firm, has gathered some very interesting statistics about childhood use of mobile phones in the United States.’a0 It appears that American children are gaining access to the mobile world at a very young age, with about 35% of 10-11 year olds owning a mobile phone in 2009!’a0 That’s more than 1 in 3 having a mobile device in their pocket…astounding!’a0 Also, the numbers show that 20% (1 in 5) of children aged 6 to 11 owning mobile phones…yikes.

Why do these young children have mobile phones? In most cases, the survey respondents list the reasoning being to call their parents (88 percent report this), but a large number (68%) report that they use their phones to call their friends.

Also, according to eMarketer, there are differences on how boys and girls use their phones.’a0 For example, ’93Girls are more apt to make calls and send text messages while boys are more likely to instant message, access the Internet and download games, music and video.’94

These are interesting statistics and should warrant further research on how young children use mobile phones and then track these same usage patterns as these same kids advance through adolescence.’a0 I have seen parents here in my corner of the U.S. give their kids an original iPhone as a ‘first phone” and thereby are engaging their kids into an early entry into the touch-friendly web and app world.’a0 Crazy!

Since we have such an international audience, I’m am interested: what is an appropriate age for children to receive their first mobile phone?’a0 What factors contribute to buying your young child a handset?

Please weigh in below in the comments!

(Photo credit: Flickr user bexross.’a0 Used under creative commons license)