HOW young is too young for a child to have a mobile phone?
That was the question put to hundreds of parents in an online poll by charity Parentline Plus.
Most mums and dads felt children should not be given their first mobile until they were at least 11.
Some 47% felt children should wait until they were aged between 11 and 13 to get a phone.
And 27% of parents felt children should be at least 14.
But 26% were happy to buy their child a mobile when they were under 10.
Parentline Plus, which provides a 24-hour support service for parents, said that when to buy a phone was becoming a big issue, with mobiles designed for children as young as four now coming on the market.
Lucy Edington, Parentline Plus chief executive, said: “Children today are really into gadgets.
“It’s important to resist pester power, but make a considered decision. If you feel your child is ready to have a mobile set sound rules to make sure you and your child get the most out of it.”
Parents gave a variety of reasons for buying their children mobiles. Some gave in to ‘pester power’ while others felt more secure if they knew they could contact their children.
But the gadgets can cause problems. They can make children a target for thieves and text messages can provide bullies with new modes of torment.
Howard Roberts, secretary of the Kirklees branch of the National Union of Teachers, said the main problem was low-level disruption caused in class, with children texting or sharing photos.
He added: “Most schools have a policy about whether children can bring phones in and when they can be switched on.
“All we want children to bring to school is that which is relevant to their learning.”
For more information visit www.parentlineplus.org.uk or call free on 0808 800 2222.