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November 28, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Updated: Most Britons think under-12s should not own mobiles

But other research suggests parents do buy them for them

By Jason Stamper Blog

A study of 2,000 people by mobile price comparison and reviews site Recombu published last week, and widely picked up by newswires like Reuters and other media sites, stated that most Britons don’t like the idea of children under 12 owning mobile phones. Three quarters were against, according to the study.

But it’s a bit of a weird story, because according to the original Reuters news, 79% of children aged 7 to 11 already own a mobile phone. What Reuters didn’t say was that this stat actually didn’t come from the survey sample – it was a figure published by the Literary Trust, which found in its own study that 9 out of 10 young people in the UK own a mobile, and 79% in the 7 to 11 age group.

The Recombu study also found that despite three quarters of respondents saying children under 12 should not be given a mobile, 90% agree it’s a good idea for children to own a mobile phone in case of emergency. This may sound contradictory but the survey question was along the lines of: "In what circumstances would it be valuable for an under-12 to own a mobile phone?" Most said in an emergency or if they needed to phone home to be picked up, while a few (13%) said as a reward or incentive for doing well at school, for example.

So a simple explanation for a seemingly contradictory story.

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