35% of UK kids have cellphone by age 8

Today’s primary school child gets out of school, races for a school bus, grumbles about homework and calls their parents on their cell about their day. That’s right, the youngest members of a family often have their own cell phone.
Believe it or not, the average age of a new cell phone user in the United Kingdom eight years old. By the time they’ve reached 15, three-quarters of the population has at least one cell with which they can chat and text friends.

Researchers from the charity Personal Finance Education Group found kids are hitting the electronic age hard and at a very young age. Data was collected from an online survey questioning 1,435 people. Those questioned included 546 children aged seven to 15, 676 parents and 759 grandparents. The survey was held between Jan. 16 and 26.

By the time kids are 10, they have the skills to go online and buy stuff. That means kids have been given their parent’s credit cards or have slipped those numbers away for online shopping. They tend to get computer games or vote in television competitions like American Idol.

Sadly, only 18 per cent use their parent’s hard-earned dollars to buy a book online.

The Telegraph reports:

Wendy van den Hende, chief executive of the charity, said: “Children today face a kind of ‘technological tipping point’ forcing them to develop financial awareness at an earlier age. It is therefore, vital, that they are equipped with the skills and judgment to make sound decisions about money management from an early age.” The research also found that average weekly pocket money now stands at £6.32.

In the UK, it’s cheaper for kids to be chatting it up with their friends; the average cost of cell phone service is $479.05 a year according to an interactive map provided by CBC. Comparatively, cellphone service costs about $572.86 per year in Canada and $635.72 per year in the United States.
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