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Nearly one in ten UK kids get first mobile phone by age five

A study of 1,420 British parents has revealed that nearly one in ten children get their first mobile phone by age 5.

A survey of British families' mobile habits has revealed that nearly 1 in 10 children receive their first mobile phone by the ludicrously young age of 5 years old.

The survey of 1,420 parents, conducted by uSwitch, indicates that the majority of kids are given their first phone between the ages of 11 and 12. That's just as they start secondary school, allowing a flock of kids to start WhatsApp messaging their mates, although parents will undoubtedly appreciate their little-'uns having a phone for emergencies.

uSwitch explains that parents will spend an average of around £125 on their kids phones. Clearly then, schools aren't going to be flooded with brand new iPhones or Galaxy S4's but there's still a wealth of well-performing budget Android blowers to be had for that kind of money.

Worryingly, a whopping 42 per cent of parents admit that they don't monitor their children's mobile spending. Given that we've seen kids run up huge bills by accident or spend thousands on in-app payments without realising it's real money they're spending, I'd expect more parents to be casting a watchful eye over how much is being spent. However, a quarter of parents have put caps on their child's phone contracts that stops them spending more than they're allowed to.

"Asking networks to place caps on their mobile bills takes about five minutes and is a very sensible precaution, especially if your child has a data-hungry smartphone," comments Ernest Doku from uSwitch.

Would you give a 5 year old a smart phone? Would you be concerned about over-spending, bullying over texts or simply that your child will be permanently glued to Facebook? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or head on over to our family-friendly Facebook page.