It’s probably not massively surprising to anyone that kids are engaging the digital age at younger and younger ages. Nevertheless, it may be a bit jarring for some to learn that the average age that a child gets their first smartphone is now the tender age of 10.3. TechCrunch’s Jay Donovan reports that he got a sneak peek at a study that reveals some surprising actualities about today’s “digital natives” growing up on the internet.
The study was a 70-question survey that polled 500 women in the United States. Donovan sums up the findings thusly:
- The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years
- Tablets have surged from 26% to 55% usage as kids’ device of choice during car rides. Smartphones trail at 45% (up from 39% in 2012).
- 64% of kids have access to the Internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42% in 2012
- 39% of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years. 11% got a social media account when they were younger than 10.
- While 85% accessed the Internet from a room shared with the family in 2012, that number dropped to 76% today, and 24% now have “private” access from their bedrooms (compared to 15% in 2012.)
The study was performed by a group called Influence Central, a marketing firm who is clearly interested in using this information to give clients a better perspective of the demographics of modern tech usership. The report documenting the findings is entitled “Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives,” but it has yet to be published by Influence Central.
If you’re curious as to why the sample only includes women, the company’s CEO Stacy DeBroff explains that the survey is a followup to a previous 2012 study that queried only women, so the sample was chosen to maintain consistency. The survey used questions like “If you purchased a smartphone/cellphone for your child, what age was the child?” Other surveys have previously pegged the average age of a child when they receive their first smartphone at 6 or 7, but serious doubt has been cast on these studies.
What are your thoughts regarding this generation of children being raised with smart devices in hand and increased access to the internet? Is it healthy to give these developing minds access to these powerful tools, or should some aspects of our technological society be withheld for older ages? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!