Should smartphones be banned for under-16s? Brits are divided

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 16, 2024, 12:59 PM GMT+0

Parents of under-16s themselves, however, tend to be opposed

Recent reports have claimed that ministers are considering a ban on the sale of smartphones to children under the age of 16. Numerous groups have been lobbying for such a move, including Esther Ghey – mother of murdered teenager Brianna – who has been calling for mobile phones that are only suitable for under-16s that lack some of the social media access that is currently available.

Now a new YouGov survey shows that Britons are split on the subject, with 36% saying they would support banning under-16s from having smartphones and 38% saying they would be opposed. A further 23% are unsure, while the remaining 4% don’t know.

However, parents of under-16s themselves are less convinced by the proposals. Almost half (45%) say they are opposed to a smartphone ban for under-16s, compared to 33% who are in favour. Those with 11-15 year olds are particularly opposed, with 52% saying so versus only 25% who would support a ban.

Age is a clear factor in opinions; the older a person is, the more likely they are to support a ban. The over-65s tend to support a ban by 43% to 24%, although the under-50s are generally opposed. Among the youngest adults (18-24 year olds) 57% oppose the ban, compared to only 25% who support it.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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