image

Is 7-years-old too young to give children a mobile phone?

A new study by Childwise has found 53% of children are mobile phone owners by around the age of seven, and by the age of 11, nine in 10 have their own device.

Once children are in secondary school, phone ownership is “almost universal”, the report says.

The report, based on a survey of 2,167 five to 16-year-olds, found children spend around three hours and 20 minutes each day messaging, playing games and being online, and 39% of those questioned said they couldn’t live without their phone. Researchers said the findings show the extent to which phones can “dominate children’s lives”.

But should such life domination be allowed at the tender age of seven?

Research by Internet Matters , which helps parents keep children safe online, found the average age a child is given a smartphone is 10, their CEO Carolyn Bunting says: “The decision to give a child a phone is a tricky one – many parents fear it opens them up to too many risks, while others tell us it gives them peace of mind knowing they can keep in touch with their child. For young children it’s crucial devices are set up safely, making use of parental controls.

“Parents shouldn’t be afraid to set boundaries, making sure they clearly discuss what apps, games and websites their child can and can’t use, considering age restrictions, setting the necessary parental controls and when, where and for how long they can use their phone.”

Family Lives trustee and parenting expert Suzie Hayman says: “The only reason for a primary school-age child to have a mobile phone would be if they were in the tiny minority who walk to school and you or they need that reassurance, or if their parents are separated and they need contact with the non-resident parent within their own control. And it should be a simple phone and text only one, not a smartphone.”

“Smartphones are fine for secondary school kids but only after extensive discussion and agreements on rules and boundaries. Internet-enabled devices are exciting and useful, but parents and children need to understand that while they are a conduit to the world, they are equally a conduit for the world to you.”

What do you think? Are children being given mobile phones too young? Or is this a necessary part of their development in a modern world? Share your views at Speakers Corner 

Is 7-years-old too young to give children a mobile phone?

384 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

What are your views?

We'd love to hear your comments

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
Mari50
1 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I think anyone under the age of 11 should not have a phone. People are letting their children grow up too quickly. It is healthier for the children to play with parents in the park, not be attached to the phone and especially not a smart one.
NannyCat
3rd Feb 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I have a seven year old grandchild. I cannot imagine any time or reason that she would be on her own without adult supervision. Certainly she is never allowed out on her own so I cannot see any occasion where she would need a phone in an emergency. She has a tablet at home with games on, but does not have access to internet unless supervised. I personally think that at seven she is certainly not equipped to deal with any social media that may be accessed on a mobile phone. Unfortunately other children are not always friends and this use of media can easily be turned into bullying. If her cousin wishes to text a message it is done on their respective parents phones.So always monitored.
Tr1sh
2nd Feb 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Maybe mobile phone companies should bring back the old mobiles which had no internet access but could be personalised with different covers, themes and ring tones. It would be interesting to see if primary school aged children would pick a pretty phone over a Smart phone.
justabout
2nd Feb 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
YES THEY ARE TOO YOUNG TO BE LEFT ON THERE OWN TO COPE WITH AN EMERGENCY BUT CAN BE TAUGHT TO USE A PARENT;S PHONE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Douglas Clark
2nd Feb 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Just a plain phone in case of emergencies
ecarg
1st Feb 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
It's a difficult balance between a child keeping up with their peer group or being left out and all the ridicule that goes with that,in my children's day it was having the right brand of trainers.
Provided that the parents have put in the parental controls have time limits in place and continue to monitor usage a mobile phone should be a useful tool to a child.
Unfortunately not all parents put these safeguards in place and that's when the problems develop.
Tr1sh
31st Jan 2020
6
Thanks for voting!
If I were giving a child a mobile phone, I would give them a phone that is simply a phone. There is no reason why a child should have a Smart phone which gives them access to the internet, apps and groups which often leave them vulnerable to exploitation and online bullying.
DipsyDitsy
31st Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Trish, I agree with you.
Lionel
31st Jan 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I've mixed feelings about this sort of thing.

The early sexualization of children is to be deplored. It takes away from those precious early years of innocence and thrusts them into a gender orientated world at an age when these youngsters haven't got the tools or maturity to cope with it.

Mobiles present the same problem, thrusting them into an online world; a harsh and sexualised but largely anonymous world.

I see in my now much older step grand children inabilities to cope with face to face situations - they're happier dealing with the world behind a screen. They may hide from the terrible realities they're now a part of.

Beebob, below, has a perfect counter to my thoughts. The pack element. I think that's now much more powerful than in my young days so must be taken into consideration.

Mixed feelings? Definitely. A Pandora's Box has been opened and we're not going to find the lid anytime soon.
Beebob
31st Jan 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
The problem is if their friends are allowed them
they think they should be allowed too, but I still
think it is too young.
Wilf
31st Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
It is probably too young but then this is the future and they are the future so it's like trying to be King Canute-"You ain't going to hold back progress!"
Yodama
31st Jan 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I am on the fence about this question.
For safety reasons I think it would be a good thing to be in touch with your 7 year old
.
As far as connection to the internet...that is a different story, very dangerous to allow young kids to have access the internet and social media at that vulnerable age.
Not averse to them playing children's games on their phones..with some guidance I hasten to add.

Perhaps a basic phone without internet connection is the way to go.
Wilf
31st Jan 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I agree with your comment Yodama-games online is fine and the way to go.
Marley444
30th Jan 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I can so no reason why a child aged 7 would need a mobile phone. When children are on public transport or responsible for getting themselves independently to secondary school, I can see a need but the issue now is that phones are more than just phones connected to the internet and with poor policing of social media bullying and trolling is a huge issue with young children.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!