One in four children under the age of six has a smartphone, a survey has found.
Despite parents insisting that 11 is the "ideal" age for children to have a phone, a poll found 25 per cent of children aged six and under already have their own mobile and nearly half of these spend up to 21 hours per week on their devices.
More than three quarters of parents paid up to £500 for their child's first phone with two-thirds admitting they don’t cap the monthly spend.
Researchers also found eight in 10 parents don’t limit the amount of time children spend on their phones while 75 per cent don’t disable the data function so their children are only able to call and text.
“Smartphones have become the most important piece of technology we own, connecting us with friends, keeping us updated on the world around us, and letting us capture our biggest moments," said Liam Howley of musicMagpie which conducted the research.
“While the majority of parents in our study said 11 was the ‘acceptable’ age for children to have their own phones, we saw that 25 per cent of children aged six and under actually already owned one.
“The age at which children get their first phones, has got even younger, and while many agree that there’s no defined age to give a child a phone, there’s a lot parents can do to ensure their child’s day-to-day life isn’t consumed by one.
"From restricting the time they spend on the device, to keeping a close eye on what they are downloading, there are many steps parents can go through to limit usage.”
Other than making calls and sending messages, it also emerged that 38 per cent of children used their mobile phone to play games.
They also use their smartphones to listen to music, watch videos and use Snapchat.
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