Kids are spending over 30 hours a week on phones, survey finds

That's 1,500 hours per year.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
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Kids are using phones at young ages, according to Sell Cell. 

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I got my first cell phone at 16 years old. It was a tiny, prepaid Nokia brick, but it did its job. Not to sound like an old coot, but things have changed a lot since then. Now 42% of kids are using phones over 30 hours a week, according to a survey published Monday from Sell Cell.

Sell Cell is best known as a phone price comparison site. But it's done some surveys over its decade in the device trade-in business, like one about what most people do with unused cell phones and one about millennials use of early upgrades for new phones.

For this study, Sell Cell surveyed 1,135 parents in the US with kids between 4 and 14 years of age. It found that kids start using phones at a young age: 47% of kids are under six years old when they start using a cell phone and 12% are between one and two years old. 

Parents have a hand in these numbers as well. Forty percent of parents surveyed admitted to letting their kids play on phones so they could have a moment of quiet. A quarter of parents said they'd spent up to $250 on a phone for their kids. It seems parents are still paying attention though. Almost all the surveyed parents, 88%, knew the passcode to their children's phones. 

The survey found that parents usually get phones for their kids for one of three reasons: to stay in contact, for educational benefits or to let their kids talk to their friends. Sell Cell found that 57% of kids used their phones for gaming , followed by 50% who regularly watched TV or movies on their devices.

Research from Common Sense Media is in line with Sell Cell's survey results on time spent on phones. Common Sense found that teens spend an average 6 1/2 hours a day looking at digital devices.  That's not including screen time in school or for homework. And a study from just this May found that a third of teens actually sleep with their devices -- girls more than boys, according to findings.

Watch this: Here's how to use YouTube's Take a Break feature
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