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EE asks 1,000 parents when children should have their first phone – here are the results


A study of 1,000 mothers and fathers shows that their children should have a phone from the age of 11 – but no internet access until they are 13.

Research shows they also want full control of all aspects of the device by the time their child turns 14, reports The Mirror.

Additionally, they would grant them complete privacy – with Facebook and YouTube being considered fine by the time they are 12 years old.

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Both platforms currently do not allow registration for children older than 13 years.

The participating parents accept that their children should not use other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok until they are teenagers.

And they admit that they would not think about checking their child’s device for use and activity until they are 13 years old.

But despite the ideal, 49 percent of those surveyed who have a child between the ages of eight and ten stated that they already own a smartphone.

The research was carried out by EE, which developed the PhoneSmart License – a free online program designed to help young people use phone technology safely and responsibly.

A spokesman for the provider said: “We all want to be able to protect our children, but we cannot always hide them from everything they come across online.

“Parents can easily worry that they may not be as familiar with technology compared to their children, so it’s all a learning curve.

“It is important to speak to your children to make sure that there are no language barriers between the two of you and that they feel they can confide in you when they see something online that they shouldn’t.

“Once your children understand the dangers of being online, this is the first step in making sure they have a healthy and safe relationship with you and your online activities.”

Parent, singer, actress and campaign ambassador Louise Redknapp added: “There are so many things to consider when giving your child a phone. It really is a minefield.

“The scariest thing is that once parents have the phone in hand, they have no control over what they see or access.

“The responsibility is shifting to them, and that is enormous. It is a really big decision to determine the right time. “

The study also found that, among other things, parents gave their children a phone so they could reach them in an emergency (52 percent), they started secondary school (38 percent), and because all of their friends have one (34 percent).

Of those who had given their children a phone as a gift, 87 percent had previously had a conversation about online dangers.

When asked what makes them afraid that their child will have their first phone, they were worried that they might see things that are not appropriate for their age group, that they might be bullied and that they do not know who they are talking to about them could.

But while Facebook, Tinder, and TikTok were the apps parents feared the most when their kids were using it, 37 percent said they didn’t have blockers on their kids’ smartphones.

Of those who do this, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram were the websites or apps that they used them most for.

It also found that more than two-thirds (69 percent) of people surveyed through OnePoll agree that it’s okay to check your child’s phone while they sleep.

And 58 percent feel anxious every time their child uses the phone because they don’t know what to do with it.

67 percent admitted that when their child got their first phone, they feared they would be sharing too much information online.

As a result of the study, the study found that 30 percent of parents were less worried about their child’s first day of school than getting their first phone, while 27 percent would rather have a boyfriend.

The EE spokesperson added, “There needs to be more for children in terms of online safety, as parents may not necessarily have all the tools or skills to teach children on their own.

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“The license teaches children key components of phone security in four modules, including online hatred, digital wellbeing, online safety, and digital and media literacy.

“Allowing a child to have a phone can be difficult for parents, but there are ways to arm them to take care of themselves.”


  • Have a cell phone – 11
  • Message to friends – 11
  • Use YouTube – 12
  • Use Facebook – 12
  • Have an email address – 12
  • Use Snapchat – 13
  • Use TikTok – 13
  • Use Instagram – 13
  • Using the Internet without blockers / instructions – 13
  • Stop checking the phone for activity – 13
  • Use the mobile phone without restrictions (blockers / filters) – 14
  • Full control over the phone – 14
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