Cell Phone: The Tween Rite of Passage

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cell Phone: The Tween Rite of Passage

*The following is excerpted from an online article from eMarketer.

Turning 12 or 13 years old used to mean entering the "awkward years." Now, it means entering the mobile world, based on Rocket Fuel polling conducted in December 2014. About three in 10 US parent internet users who had at least one child under 18 in the household planned to buy mobile phones for their children when they were 12 or 13 years old.

Notably, 13% of parents said they’d buy their children mobile phones at 10 or 11 years old—especially when they turned 10 and celebrated the big entry to double digits. Including the additional 5% of respondents who would be so kind as to purchase a mobile phone for their 8- and 9-year-olds, 33% intended to buy such devices for their children before they entered their teenage years, meaning it’s never too early for mobile phone makers to start pulling at parents’ wallets.

"Children" who aren’t lucky enough to receive a mobile phone by the ripe age of 13 won’t have to wait too much longer. Fully 33% of parents intended to gift their children with mobile phones between the ages of 14 and 16. The percentage of respondents dropped off dramatically after this age—most would already gift phones by then, while others fell into the 8% of parents who didn’t plan on buying these for their children.

Parents remain conflicted over whether it’s a good thing for their children to have mobile phones, but they’re leaning slightly toward the positive, based on October 2014 research by Hart Research Associates for Family Online Safety Institute. Among US parents of children ages 6 to 17, 38% said smartphone ownership was more beneficial than harmful to their kids, compared with 29% who said the opposite.

Source: eMarketer