Over a third of 8 year olds own a mobile phone

Eight year old using a mobile phone

A recent survey (commissioned by Tesco Mobile) has shown that over a third of children aged eight now own a mobile phone and a quarter of those children bring their phones to school every day!

500 Irish parents were surveyed who were happy for their children to have a mobile as they could track their whereabouts. This surprised me as a reason, as I would have thought that parents would already know where their children are (particularly at the younger age of eight and nine!).

In terms of bringing the phone into school, I thought that all primary schools had a policy where ‘The use of mobile phones by students is not permitted’. As parents we must take responsibility and remind our children of this policy. Likewise schools must be consistent in enforcing this policy.

The survey states the children are using the mobiles primarily for texting and gaming with less than 4% using them for social networking. It’s reassuring to see so few mobile phone users at this age getting caught up in Facebook and Twitter but with an ever increasing number of underage children using these social networks at home, how long before they start to access these networks on their mobiles. This makes the task of monitoring your child’s internet use much more difficult.

Are you a parent of an eight year old or older with a mobile phone? What are your thoughts? Alternatively, do you think that this is too young? Why?

Debbie Woodward

Debbie is a FETAC qualified trainer and delivers Social Media training for the Sligo County Enterprise Board in Ireland. Debbie also delivers talks on Internet Safety to parents and students in schools and also teachers in education centres. You can find Debbie on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.


  1. penny said:

    I have a nearly 8 year old and can’t see why a phone should be necessary until they walk to school on their own and attend after school clubs that could change. I expect that to be when she is 10 / 11 or even 12.

    She did have a conversation with a younger ‘ cooler’ friend today though who asked if she had a mobile and if she used facebook!

    • Debbie WoodwardDebbie said:

      Thanks for the comment Penny. I totally agree with you. There is no need for any child under 12 to own a mobile phone! Hopefully your daughter will understand that you don’t need a mobile (or a Facebook account) to be ‘cool’!




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