Cell phones are not just for teenaged children any more. Nearly six out of 10 (56 percent) parents of “tweeners” (children aged 8-12) have provided their children with cell phones, according to a new survey conducted by ORC International for the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer organization. Of those parents, roughly a quarter are facing higher bills than they had expected to pay in order for their child to have a cell phone.
Highlights of the NCL tweeners and cell phones survey include the following:
• Nearly six out of 10 parents with tweeners surveyed (56 percent) have purchased cell phones for their young children, ranging from a high of 62 percent in households earning over $100,000 a year to a low of 41 percent in households under $50,000 a year.
• Parents in a third of households earning under $50,000 are paying more for their tweener's cell phone than they had expected. Overall, about a quarter of households (23 percent) report they pay more than they had anticipated would be the case.
• The 10-11 age range appears to be the “sweet spot” for pre-teens to receive a cell phone. Six out of 10 pre-teens were aged 10-11 when they received their phone. Twenty percent of 8-9 year olds and 15 percent of 12-year olds received a cell phone.
“Before the training wheels are coming off their bikes, many children are getting their first cell phones,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “Our survey underscores the fact that pre-teens are the new ‘growth market’ for the wireless industry."