Children’s use of mobile phones – An international comparison 2012

Published in 2013 by the GSM Association and the Mobile Society Research Institute within NTT DOCOMO Inc, Japan

A summary of this publication provided by the mobile phone industry is given below.

Chapter 3
Children and mobile phones – an overview
• 65% of all children surveyed currently use a mobile
phone; of those, 81% have a new handset.
• 12 is the most common age for children to get their first
mobile phone.
• 27% of child mobile phone owners have a smartphone.
Children’s smartphone ownership in India and Indonesia
is double that of their parents.
• Children whose parents own smartphones or featurephones
are more likely to have one also.
• Tablet use is relatively low with only 18% penetration in
Egypt and Chile, 7% in Indonesia and between 5–7% in
Japan and India.

Chapter 4
Children’s use of mobile phones
• Initially, children use their mobile phone predominantly
for calling; however, as they get older, messaging
becomes the preferred choice of communication.
• Nearly 24% and 20% of children in Indonesia and India
respectively, send over 51 messages a day.
• 54% of all child mobile phone users access the mobile
internet; this increases to over 87% when looking
exclusively at smartphone users.
• 70% of all children who use the internet through their
phone access it at least once a day.
• 11% of child mobile phone users surveyed list their
handset as their primary device for accessing
the internet; this increases to almost 32% among
smartphone users.
• Cameras are the most used pre-installed function on
mobiles (75%) followed by music players (60%) and
movie players (50%).

Chapter 5
Apps, social networking and other services
• Of those children who access the internet via their
mobile phone, 57% download or use apps; this is highest
in Chile (78%) and lowest in Egypt (44%).
• Across all countries, entertainment apps are the most
popular among children.
• Entertainment is the only category of apps that children
use more than their parents across all countries.
• Information apps have the greatest increase in use as
children get older, starting at 18% use for 8-year-olds
and rising to 36% at age 18. Although entertainment
apps are the most popular, they are the only app
category to decline from 90% use at age 10 to 77%
at age 18.
• 49% of children who access the internet via a mobile
phone use it for social networking. 45% of these have
have their profiles set to public; this is as high as 55%
among 13-year olds.
• 70% of children have met or started to communicate
with ‘new friends’ online.

Chapter 6
Parental concerns and digital literacy
• Over 70% of parents have concerns about children’s
mobile phone use, with viewing inappropriate sites and
overuse sharing the highest percentage at around 82%.
• Parents whose children use social networking sites are
no more concerned about privacy than those whose
children don’t.
• 65% of all parents surveyed set rules on their children’s
mobile phone use, but there was no common response
to rule-breaking across all countries.
• Over 54% of parents who have access to parental
control solutions use them; content filters are the most
popular control method at 57%.
• Almost 67% of parents believe that an adult in the family
should educate their children about mobile phone use;
this is a consistent preference across all countries.


Measurements of radiofrequency fields in outdoor environments

A novel mobile monitoring system was used to measure outdoor radiofrequency fields (RF) in Sweden recently published in Bioelectromagnetics. The system was car based and the frequency covered was 30 MHz to 3 GHz.

In total more than 70,000 measurements were made. According to Table 1 in the article the following results were obtained:

Rural area                       Urban                        Stockholm

Median (μW/m2)                                                16                            270                               2,600

Arithmetic mean (μW/m2)                               230                         1,500                               6,700

Most of the radiation comes from base stations for mobile phones, 2G and 3G (UMTS). Unfortunately the range of measurements is not given. Especially high values are found in Stockholm. These results can be compared with the evaluation in BioInitiative Report 2012 especially regarding biological effects of RF-EMF:

 ‘A scientific benchmark of 0.003 uW/cm2 or three nanowatts per centimeter squared for ‘lowest observed effect level’ for RFR is based on mobile phone base station-level studies.’