Safety Is The Top Reason Parents Buy Cell Phones for Kids

BY Rachel Cagle
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For most parents, the big question regarding buying cell phones for their kids is not "if." It's "when." Research shows that the average age at which kids get cell phones is 11.6 years. Beyond safety, parents consider other reasons for buying phones for their kids. They also think about how their kids will use these devices and the hit to the family budget.

Cell Phones for Kids

Over half of phone shoppers are parents with children living at home, according to AudienceSCAN from AdMall. Of those kids, 17.2% are teens between 13 and 17, and 11.3% fall into the preteen, 10- to 12-​year-​old category.

Parents tend to purchase phones for kids because of the following main reasons, according to a NewFolks article by Dawn Miller:

1. Safety

As children move into middle school and spend more time outside of school and away from their parents, having a connected device is helpful. In an emergency, they can call 911 or their parents or another responsible adult for help.

2. Convenience

When family members can easily send text messages via a cell phone, there are fewer problems. For example, parents no longer have to wonder exactly where to pick up their child after a school event. And kids can communicate efficiently with both parents when necessary, for example, if they want to stay longer at an event.

3. Organization

Savvy families keep their schedules online. By using a shared calendar, everyone knows who’s doing what after school and on the weekends. In addition, kids with phones can easily update their calendars on the go, reducing confusion and wasted time.

4. Responsibility

Giving a child a cell phone is a rite of passage for many families. At this point, the parents trust their child to keep track of the device and use it responsibly. It is the first step toward living a more independent life.

How kids use their phones

Kids use their phones up to eight hours a day, though anecdotal reports indicate they are “constantly” online.

  • Nearly half of kids lose track of time when using their phones. And just over 10% feel stressed when they don’t have their phones.
  • Social media use is huge for kids with cell phones. Parents must be vigilant to be sure their kids aren’t being bullied.
  • Another leading category for time spent on phones is video games.

The Phones and Rules

Parents and school administrators are trying to find a balance between giving kids access to phones and setting parameters to keep devices from becoming a distraction. As schools adjust to the new daily life after the pandemic, they institute cell phone bans during the day and require students to put the devices in sealed cases.

Beyond that, parents often use apps to control the types of sites their kids can access with their cell phones. And some parents require their kids to leave them in a central location in the home, charging overnight. As a result, this practice encourages the kids to maintain good sleep habits.

Phones as an expense

Parents are trying their best to keep mobile expenses for their kids low. The average cost per line is between $50 and $70 a month for a 5G plan. But the average bill amounts to $127.27 because consumers are paying for more than one line. Consumers might also opt to buy a phone with financing and pay for insurance.

How to Reach Buyers of Kids' Cell Phones

Smartphone Shoppers can be swayed to action while searching for smartphones for their kids. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, 63% took action after seeing a sponsored search result. Email is also an effective advertising medium, as 55% of this audience was motivated by their inbox content last year. Of course, these devices aren't the only products these parents expect to buy for their kids. 

This year, 15% of phone shoppers plan to purchase at least $500 of children's clothing. In addition, apparel retailers can boost sales by advertising their wares via mobile smartphone apps or text messages. Last year, nearly 63% of this audience took action as a result of these kinds of ads. Their response rate may be even higher once they buy their new cell phones.

Photo by Vanessa Loring on Pexels​.com.