Study: Kids are getting their first smartphone at age 10

Kindle Fire used by smirking kid

A new report shows that the average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years old.

TechCrunch obtained the data from an unreleased report from Influence Central, a marketing agency. The data comes from the agency's larger ongoing study of about 500 women and their buying habits across the United States. 500 people is quite a small sample size, so it's worth taking the data with a grain of salt.

The women were asked to answer 70 survey questions about their purchases, including what age their child was when they purchased him or her their first smartphone or cellphone. Additional data revealed in the study include:

  • Tablets have surged from 26% to 55% usage as kids' device of choice during car rides. Smartphones trail at 45% (up from 39% in 2012).
  • 64% of kids have access to the Internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42% in 2012
  • 39% of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years. 11% got a social media account when they were younger than 10.
  • While 85% accessed the Internet from a room shared with the family in 2012, that number dropped to 76% today, and 24% now have "private" access from their bedrooms (compared to 15% in 2012.)

It shouldn't be too surprising that kids are getting smartphones and tablets at a younger age, as the internet has become integral to our lives. Smartphones, laptops and tablets are often necessary tools for school.

There's also a lot of data we don't know about the 500 women who participated in the study like socioeconomic status, how many minorities were included in the survey and how many devices were hand-me-downs compared to newly purchased.

It also shows that parents have got their work cut out for them and will have to learn and explain issues of online privacy and security to their children. In related news, the average length of a child's carefree, blissful nature has shrunk to 10.3 years - total coincidence, right?

  • Looking to get your kid his or her first tablet? Be sure to check out our recommendations for best tablets for kids.

You also might want to check out the best phones for kids.

Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.