UK parents believe their children should be 11 years old before they own a smartphone or tablet with internet capability, according to a survey of 2,000 UK adults by gadgets and technology retailer, LaptopsDirect.co.uk, published in the Technology Forecast Report 2017.
Just 12% of parents would allow their child to own a mobile phone under the age of 11 – suggesting that many parents feel primary school age is too young.
The report, which researched parents’ attitudes towards owning technology, revealed 61% of parents would allow their child to have a smartphone so they could be reached in an emergency.
10 years old was also the threshold for allowing a child access to a television in their room, with a third (37%) permitting children under 10 years old their own TV.
However, 70% of parents felt that use of technology from a young age was something that children needed to aid their development, with more than half (54%) believing they would start high school behind their peers if they hadn’t had any interaction with technology or gadgets at home.
Mark Kelly, marketing manager at LaptopsDirect.co.uk explained that “Technology plays an important part in our lives but it is never easy for a parent to decide when their child is the right age to have access to their own smartphone, tablet or laptop.
“The fact that most parents didn’t have access to these gadgets when they were young could explain why some are reluctant to let young children have access to technology. Despite this, parents clearly recognise the importance of allowing kids supervised access to technology and are under no illusion that it is better for their development to deny all access.
“There are always concerns about what children will be exposed to via gadgets, but as long as parents remain vigilant, and make use of the child-friendly settings and safeguards available on these devices, these tools open up new experiences and methods of learning that can be very beneficial.”