uSwitch

More than a million British kids get their first mobile phone by the time they’re five years old, according to research from UK-based price comparison site uSwitch.com.  According to the study, the typical British child gets their first handset by the age of 12, costing just £125 on average, which is a little more than half of what parents spend on their own mobile devices.

When shopping for handsets, parents will spend £246 on themselves, while they’ll pay an average £125 on their kids’ phones – enough to cover the cost of an entry-level smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Ace or BlackBerry Curve 9320, according to the study.

15% of kids under 16 have mobiles worth more than their parents’. SIM-free handsets above the £245 mark include smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 900 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini.

When it comes to first mobiles, oldest siblings get more spent on them, find the research. Parents with more than one child spend on average 15% more on their first-born’s first handset than on their second born.

Mums and dads also spend more on their first child’s phone bills – shelling out £12 per month on their oldest child’s bill compared to £11 for their second child.

While parents spend £19 per month on average on their own pay-monthly mobile deals, they spend just £11 per month on average on each of their children’s bills.

Pay as you go contracts offer parents a way to keep tabs on children’s mobile spending and avoid unexpected bills, but more than four in ten parents (42%) say they don’t bother to monitor what their children spend.

Just a quarter (25%) of parents place caps on their kids’ contracts. Fewer than one in twenty (3%) disable the data function on their kids’ phones.

According to ONS 2012 Family Size data there were 7.7million families with dependent children in the UK in 2012, and families had an average of 1.7 children each. 7.7million x 1.7 = 13,090,000. uSwitch asked parents at what age they bought their children their first mobiles, and 9% were 5 years old. 9% of 13,090,000 kids is 1,178,100. The average age was 11 years and 8 months.

Parents were asked how much their mobile and their children’s handsets were worth when new. The average value for parents’ phones is £254.56, for all children the average is £124.91, for the oldest child it’s £138.27 and for the second oldest it’s £120.

Research was carried out online amongst 1,420 parents with children aged under 16 years old, in July 2013, says uSwitch.

[Image courtesy: uSwitch.com]