Kids are growing up faster than they used to, or at least they are certainly getting cell phones earlier, according to a July survey commissioned by the cell phone company Pelephone.
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The survey of 920 mothers representative of the general population found that 25% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 surveyed have their own mobile phone, with the number reaching 66% for ages 9-11. In the 12-14 age group, the figure climbs to 91%, according to the survey.
"Year by year, the age at which parents get their children their first cell phones drops,” said Nirit Ben-Kish, manager of Pelephone's marketing division. “They need for emotional calm and the ability to reach their children, which leads parents to give their child his first cell phone when he enters the first grade.”
The results show that Israeli youth are an Apple marketer's dream. The problem is that their parents are not. Nearly half of mothers said their children wanted an iPhone, even though most parents preferred to buy them a different make. In reality, only 22% of the children with phones age 6-14 actually had an iPhone, but in the 12-14 group it reached 28%.
Israeli kids are big users of mobile applications: Some 75% of mothers surveyed said their children used apps, while 56% of children between ages 6 and 8 used a cell phone to play games like Angry Birds.
“Usage changes over time,” Ben-Kish said. “When he starts school a child mainly calls his parents to say he arrived. As he grows up, he starts to download apps, send messages on WhatsApp and stay in touch with friends over Facebook. At their bar mitzvah many get as a present or use their gift money to buy an iPhone or Galaxy.”
Some of the survey findings were much less surprising. For example, 92% of children use their cell phone to send text messages to their friends and family.