Ethan Mutzelberg, 13, from Rosewood has had a mobile phone for two years, and gets hand-me-down phones from mum Samantha Adams.
Ethan Mutzelberg, 13, from Rosewood has had a mobile phone for two years, and gets hand-me-down phones from mum Samantha Adams. Rob Williams

Mobile phones a must-have for kids

MOBILE phones were one of the most popular gifts for Ipswich kids this Christmas, and it seems you are never too young to join the mobile revolution.

Children as young as six are now contactable 24 hours a day as parents respond to child safety concerns by ensuring their kids are only a phone call away.

According to My Mobile Watchdog website, 22% of girls and 15% of boys in Australia aged between eight and 11-years-old now own a mobile phone.

Deanne Flemley, manager of Riverlink mobile phone retailer Crazy Johns, said the number of parents buying mobile phones for their children increased every year.

"There has definitely been an increase in parents buying prepaid phones for their six to 10-year-old kids this year," Ms Flemley said.

"We've also seen a lot more parents buying plans for their older kids aged about 12-13.

"Each year the age of kids getting phones gets lower though.

"I can't imagine it getting lower than six but you never know."

Ms Flemley said parents cited security as the most common reason for "connecting" their children at an early age.

"Parents are specifically buying it for them for emergencies," she said.

"With the Daniel Morcombe stuff over the last few years a lot of parents say they don't want their kids to be in that situation."

Samantha Adams from Rosewood said her son Ethan got his first phone at the age of 12.

"I got him his first phone when he started high school," Ms Adams said.

"He has never had a new one - he gets my hand-me-downs.

"It is really for emergencies and if he misses the bus and things like that."

Ms Adams said Ethan, now 13, had been really responsible with his phone use over the past two years.

"He's on a prepaid plan and when it's gone it's gone," she said.

Ms Flemley said smart phones were the popular choice for older children on contracts, but parents of younger children tended to buy cheaper phones due to a higher loss rate.

The biggest question remains unanswered. Where does a six-year-old keep their mobile phone?


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