Smartphones are ubiquitous in the modern world. We just can’t live without them, it seems, and spending a day free of texting, checking Facebook on the move or Snapchatting seems utterly unthinkable.
But it’s not just us grown-ups who feel that way. According to a new study by Halifax, 67 per cent of eight to 15-year-olds now own a smartphone.
Even at the lower end of the age scale, ownership levels are high, with 19 per cent of eight-year-olds having a handset.
It’s a measure of just how crucial smartphones have become to the modern way of living. Kids are growing up using these devices and will probably never know life without one.
Halifax carried out the study because it wanted to find out who exactly is paying for them.
Figures revealed that just nine per cent of eight to 15-year-olds pay their own phone bill, while 82 per cent of parents stump up the cash for them.
The survey also found that kids spend nearly £500 of their pocket money on digital downloads every year.
Furthermore, two-fifths of eight to 15-year-olds are permitted by their parents to download an unlimited number of apps.
But some parents do put restrictions in place, with 44 per cent saying they don’t let their children buy digital downloads with their pocket money.
More than a quarter of these said they were concerned mainly about the chances of their kids spending too much, while four in ten were worried about youngsters downloading inappropriate content.
Interestingly, though, parents aren’t always agreed on whether to limit their kids’ spending on digital downloads.
Figures revealed that 57 per cent of mums would say no, compared with just 32 per cent of dads.
Giles Martin, head of savings at Halifax, commented: “With more and more games, apps and music offered on smartphones, digital downloads are naturally becoming increasingly popular for kids to spend pocket money on.
“Although each download may seem fairly cheap, the costs can add up over the course of the year and their lack of ‘physical’ presence can make spending less visible.”
As a result, he believes parents should use this opportunity to get their kids acquainted with the basics of managing money, so they realise that small amounts can add up.
Mr Martin went on to hail one particular finding of the survey – that one in three children would save up if they wanted something.
“Parents can help nurture this habit by showing them the benefits of saving up,” he added.
Who knows what a few pennies put aside each week could lead to in the long run?
For older kids especially, they might enjoy being less dependent on their parents for money, and maybe even be able to put enough money aside to buy a higher-spec smartphone without help.