More than half of all children aged up to 16 years old in the UK either own or have access to a mobile phone, new research has revealed.
According to the Childwise Monitor 2018 report, 64 per cent of the survey's 2,000 respondents owned their own mobile phone, while a further ten per cent had access to a device.
While not a record high – the Monitor revealed mobile phone ownership among children aged 16 and under peaked at 73 per cent in 2008 – the introduction of new devices, including tablets, means young people now have access to more technology than ever before.
Simon Leggett, research director of Childwise, stated: “The mobile phone is now the go-to device for children's media activity, whether it is listening to music, checking social media or catching up on the latest Netflix series in their bedroom.”
Standout figures from the report included the fact that almost one-fifth of children aged five and six now own their own mobile phone. Meanwhile, this figure rises to 41 per cent among seven to eight-year-olds, 59 per cent for those aged nine to ten and reaches 91 per cent by age 11.
The significant uptake of mobile devices by young people across the country should not come as a surprise to readers, however, as research published in 2014 stated at the time that young children continue to be ahead of many adults in their ability to grasp and respond to innovation.
In its annual study of British consumers, Ofcom devised a 'digital quotient', or technological intelligence test, that aimed to highlight those groups across the country that are most adept at embracing and understanding new technologies.
It found that the youngest people that took part in the survey – those aged just six to seven years old – were among the highest scoring (98). To place this figure into context, individuals aged between 45 and 49 achieved an average score of just 96.
Overall, the Childwise research highlighted the most popular uses for mobile phones among young people across the country at present, with making and receiving calls (72 per cent), accessing the internet (71 per cent) and instant messaging (71 per cent) the top three activities for both boys and girls.
Other popular activities included playing games (66 per cent), downloading apps (65 per cent) and using the camera to take pictures (61 per cent).
“Standard mobile phone features continue to serve children well, although the growing popularity of supplementary features highlights the importance of phones as diverse multimedia devices,” Mr Leggett concluded.