Press release: Children and mobile phones

Westcoastcloud survey reveals 1 in 10 UK primary school children have iPhones 

 Cloud services provider releases Netintelligence App on iTunes

 One in ten parents in the UK feels it’s appropriate for children as young as four years old to own a mobile phone, while one in ten kids under the age of ten already owns an iPhone, according to a survey by Westcoastcloud, the supplier of cloud-based internet security services.

 Westcoastcloud commissioned the survey to coincide with the release of its iPad internet security product for schools, Netintelligence, as an App on iTunes. The report found that one in twenty primary school children now own an iPad.

 The extent to which today’s youngsters rely on technology was revealed following a study of 2,000 parents of children aged ten and under. 

 The Westcoastcloud poll found that 17 per cent of parents bought their kids a phone after they succumbed to their child’s pestering.

 Typically, parents felt comfortable buying their child a mobile or the latest Smartphone like an iPhone or Blackberry at the age of ten, with 68 per cent doing so because they wanted to keep tabs on their kids. 

 Worryingly the survey also revealed that almost one in ten primary school aged children had a social networking account – the age at which children are eligible to have a Facebook or MySpace account is thirteen. A quarter of parents said their child had an email account.

 Bill Strain, director of Westcoastcloud, said: “It’s great that youngsters are interested and engaged with the latest technology, but children owning their own phones as young as four does seem unnecessary. Kids will always be able to gain access to their parents’ phones and laptops but when primary school age children gain access to the internet on these devices, parents need to be aware. There’s the potential that they could access unsuitable or potentially harmful content.”

 The survey also found that a third of the children who used their parents’ phones did so for internet related activities such as looking at You Tube, emailing, or using Facebook or Twitter.

 Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International the children’s internet charity commented: “With children of a younger and younger age accessing technology, even owning technology, it is all the more important that we are equipping them to navigate these technologies safely.”

 The study found that 88 per cent of parents paid the bills for their child’s phone with two thirds of kids topping up monthly with ‘pay as you go’ payment plans.

 Three quarters of parents spend around ten pounds a month on their child’s phone bill – but one in five parents have kids that rack up £20 bills every month.

It also emerged that half of all parents completing the poll owned an iPhone or Blackberry and 72 per cent owned laptops and tablets.

 15 per cent of parents said their child uses their Smartphone regularly and one in ten kids are perfectly au fait at logging on to a tablet that belongs to mum or dad.

 A large percentage of kids under ten can makes calls, one in five can competently text, one in twenty can draft and send an email and 10 per cent can go online. More than a quarter of youngsters can take photos or videos and play on applications.

 More than one in twenty parents said their child is more competent on the phone than they are so they don’t bother to check what they are looking at on the phone. Parents estimated their offspring spent nearly three hours per week online, whether it’s via a phone or computer.

 Staggeringly half of the mums and dads questioned said they have no parental controls installed on their internet connected devices to block access to certain websites – despite five per cent of parents saying their child uses their phone or laptop when they are out. Twelve per cent claim their child doesn’t really know what they are doing online and regularly they leave them to ‘play’ on their laptop or tablet.

 Not surprisingly 22 per cent of those polled said they frequently argued with their child about the amount of time they spend online.

 Despite this, three quarters of parents said they wanted their child to be computer literate and 48 per cent are pleased their kids are interested in it. A third said being adept on a laptop and phone will do them no harm although half thought their kids would be ‘lost’ without technology as traditional things like days out and sport no longer amuse them.

 Bill Strain of Westcoastcloud added: “If parents are happy for their children to be using these products they need to understand that the internet is not a private place. Filtering products are available that can help parents keep their children safe online.”

 Will Gardner, of Childnet International, commented: “In our work in schools we are often getting asked by parents about the technology their children are using. It is important to help ensure parents are aware of the full functionality of the technology that young children are accessing and that they are able to use the tools and give the support that young people need to stay safe and get the most out of these devices”.

 Broadband providers in the UK may be forced to offer parents ways of protecting their children from harmful online content as part of a new Communications Act. 

 Westcoastcloud has just released its internet security product Netintelligence as an App on iTunes for use in schools and will be releasing a home-use version later this year.

 Westcoastcloud is a subsidiary of iomart Group plc which is ranked as one of the top 25 cloud services providers in the world by Talkin’ Cloud 50 and was named Scottish Digital IT Company of the Year 2011.

 For more information about Westcoastcloud visit


 News release issued on behalf of Westcoastcloud by Jane Robertson, Head of PR for iomart Group plc. For more information please email or call 0141 931 6474 (dir), 0141 931 6400 or 07827948993 (mob).

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