How many children have their own tech?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
March 13, 2020, 9:38 AM GMT+0

Most have to wait until age twelve to get their own computer or laptop however

YouGov research shows that 50% of Brits think parents or carers should prevent children spending too much time in front of screens. This may be a tricky job, though, as kids in Britain are getting their hands on their own devices from a young age.


Most children in Britain have their own smartphones before they turn 12. In fact, 10% of six-year-olds already have one, and another 49% are allowed use of a family device.

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The number of children with a phone rises sharply after the age of nine or ten, and 88% of 12-year-olds are entrusted with their own device. By the age of 17 only 4% of children are without their own phone, and just 3% say they don’t have access to a family device.

Tablets and iPads

The tablet market has seen stiff competition as smartphone technology improves at a seemingly exponentional rate, but the devices still prove popular among parents as gifts for children.

At age six, 85% of children say they have access to a tablet at home, and 40% have their own.

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While the devices prove extremely popular with younger audiences there is no dramatic uptake in ownership as children get older, a different pattern than we see with smartphones.

If we compare the data we can see that tablet ownership peaks and begins to plateau around the age of 10 to 12, which is around the same age that we see the dramatic rise in smart phone ownership.

This suggests that tech-savvy children aren’t as interested in acquiring a tablet if they can get their hands on a smartphone, but that they are a popular stand-in device.

Computers and laptops

When it comes to laptops and computers, British kids have to wait a lot longer to get their own - but most have access to a family device from an equally young age.

Only 5% of children have their own laptop at age six, making it the least-owned of the technology we asked about.

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The rise in PC ownership among children is fairly low until they begin secondary school as they reach the ages of 10 to 11.

From then on the increase in ownership is consistent, with most having to wait until the age of 12 to get their own. There is another slight jump in ownership as children graduate from secondary education into college and sixth forms, and by age 17, only 4% say they don’t have a computer that is theirs, or one in their family they can use.

Image: Getty

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