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.


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