Latest YouGov Child Research

Whilst a survey shows that nine out of ten children have a mobile phone, making them feel safer and improving their social life, other research suggests that teenagers are becoming addicted to mobiles.

The Mobile Life Youth Report, commissioned by The Carphone Warehouse in conjunction with the London School of Economics, showed that on average kids send up to 10 text messages a day, three times more than their parents. Texting was found to be the preferred method of contacting their friends and family, rather than phoning, and 50% admitted sending and/or receiving a text message during lessons.

The research, carried out by YouGov, questioned 1250 11-17 year olds who owned mobiles.

78% of them believe having a mobile has given them a better social life as it meant it was easier to keep in touch with chums.

As many as 42% of 15-17 year old girls admitted they would feel unwanted if the whole day went by without their phone ringing.

Three quarters of children have had their phone bought for them by their parents, while half have their calls paid for by their parents. Carphone Warehouse also found 28% said their child paid the bill while 22% said they shared the cost with their child.

The survey found that most parents (71%) believed mobiles were a useful way to keep track of their offspring. However, only a third of 13 to 16-year-olds thought it was reasonable for parents to use mobiles for this reason.
One in three youngsters added that they use phones to keep in touch with people their parents did not want them to contact.

Unsurprisingly, two thirds of 15 to 17 year-olds would not let their parents look through their text messages, and a quarter of 11 to 17 year-olds had received a text inviting them on a date.

"The mobile phone has become the most important electronic device for young people in the UK today, and 91 per cent of children have a mobile phone by the time they go to secondary school at 12 years old," said Charles Dunstone, chief executive of The Carphone Warehouse.

"It provides them with a social network, a sense of security and access to entertainment. But most importantly it provides them with a sense of belonging to their peer group."

However, a new study has shown that the youth of today are starting to become addicted to their mobile phones.

Dr David Sheffield, a senior lecturer of psychology at Staffordshire University, conducted a survey on 100 students. The questionnaire, normally associated with gambling addiction, found one in six to have addictive behaviour.

90% of those polled said they took their phone everywhere with them, and a third said they would phone a friend if they felt low. Both of these are symptoms of addiction.

One in seven students became bad temepered when denied access to their phone, and even lied about how much they used it.

On the flip side, a second group of youngsters benefitted from lower blood pressure, and reduced stress levels when seperated from their handsets, but were effectively ostracised as they couldn’t keep up with social events.
 
Dr Sheffield admitted that none of this conclusively proves users are addicted to their phones; it may just be so central to modern life that living off the grid is a strain, but he does recommend occasional breaks from the ever-present connectivity just to make sure addiction does not develop.