One measure of the popularity of mobile phones is the near-ubiquity of mobile usage, including “tweens” between eight and 12. Fifty-six percent of respondents surveyed by ORC International as part of a recent study say they have purchased cell phones for their young children, ranging from a high of 62 percent in households earning over $100,000 a year and a low of 41 percent in households under $50,000 a year.
The top three reasons parents buy mobile phones for tweens are safety (84 percent), tracking child's after-school activities (73 percent) and “child asked for one” (16 percent).
Virtually all those devices support text messaging. Only four percent of tweens with cell phones got a basic phone with no Web or texting access. Some 48 percent have a feature phone with texting, while another get 20 percent use a feature phone with texting and Web access, and 27 percent use a smartphone.
Some 81 percent of parents of tweens put their child on a contract-based mobile phone plan and 15 percent use a prepaid cell phone service. Eighty-four percent of parents added a tween user to an existing family plan. That statistic shows the power of family or multi-user plans, which were originally adopted by mobile service providers as a way of stimulating mobile device usage by teenagers, at a time when adult adoption rates were approaching saturation.
The same logic now appears to be driving adoption by pre-teens.
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Edited by Braden Becker