Now that the cell phone has totally invaded the adult world, it’s aiming at the kids. The average mobile phone and Internet user is getting younger every year. What was until recently considered a nice bar mitzvah present has become an appropriate toy for the kindergarten set.
The concern for the security and welfare of one’s child, the need to know where he is and what he is doing every moment of the day, is one of the driving causes for the increasing number of cell phones among children. Escalating violence among youth also contributes its fair share to the phenomenon.
When parents upgrade their cell phones, the children inherit the old model. However, as the child grows, so do the demands for a new, fancier mobile device.
In the past, new subscribers were usually recruits to the army who had new cell phones or their parent’s phone. This significantly lowered the age of the average user to 15 and up. Today, the new cell phone users are very young children.
Cell phone use begins early
Market research conducted by the Pelephone cellular firm indicates that cell phone use begins at the age of five and upward.
A Pelephone official told Ynet that 10 percent of children aged five to seven have cell phones, mostly models they inherited from their parents who have upgraded. Fully 30 percent of parents of kindergarten age kids felt a need to provide their children with cell phones.
The child leaves home for a few hours and with him, a cell phone given to him to use by one of his parents, the official said.
Some 45 percent of the children carry cell phones by the time they’re eight or nine years old, the official said. Half of the parents of children in this age group feel a need to give their children phones, because at this age they are more independent and are away from home for extended periods of the day.
In this group, the official said, are many youngsters who are using a phone borrowed from their parents or the older model inherited from them when they upgraded.
Sixty-six percent of the youngsters aged 10-11 carry cell phones, mostly new phones that their parents have bought them and not hand-me-downs. Ninety percent of the 12 and older age group are owners of new models of cell phones.
But new or old, plain or fancy, one thing is certain, it’s mom and dad who foot the bill at the end of the month.