PARENTS EQUIP KIDS WITH WIRELESS DEVICES FOR SAFETY BUT MANY DON’T COVER USAGE RULES

by techtiptom

Originally posted to wibc.com on 09/13/2011

Verizon Wireless National Survey Documents Usage and Age Trends

INDIANAPOLIS—While more than 95 percent of parents choose to get their child a wireless device for safety, emergencies and to ensure they can reach them at any time, one in five has not set up rules for a child’s wireless usage, according to a recent national survey by Verizon Wireless. Discussing inappropriate texts and the importance of not texting and driving ranked low on the list of discussion topics, according to the survey of more than 500 parents.

“While wireless devices provide peace of mind for parents, it’s important to teach children responsibility and set guidelines when they get their first wireless device,” said John Granby, president–Indiana/Kentucky/Michigan Region, Verizon Wireless. “Establishing rules and discussing important topics with children regarding wireless usage early on will help create responsible users.”

The survey also found that the number one rule parents have in place for a child is to answer the phone when mom or dad calls. In addition, parents often require their children to maintain good grades in order to continue to use their wireless device. Specifically, the survey found:

  • The average age that parents give a cell phone to a child is 11;
  • For parents who have discussed wireless usage with their children, 37 percent established rules, 21 percent discussed inappropriate texts and photos, and 13 percent discussed the importance of not texting and driving;
  • Twenty percent of parents have set no rules or guidelines, such as establishing times to use the phone;
  • Twenty percent of parents have not discussed these topics with their children—inappropriate texts, privacy, the importance of not texting and driving, phone etiquette, or usage rules.

The survey also found that while 40 percent of parents provide a cell phone for children between the ages of 13 and 15, nearly 10 percent have provided a cell phone for children between the ages of 7 and 9. Of parents surveyed:

  • Forty percent provide a phone for children ages 13 to 15;
  • Thirty-two percent provide a phone for children ages 10 to 12;
  • Ten percent provide a phone for children age 16 or older;
  • Nearly 10 percent provide a phone for children ages 7 to 9;
  • Less than 1 percent provide a phone for children age 6 or younger;
  • About 7.5 percent said they would not provide their children with a wireless device.

When looking for information about wireless tips and safety guidelines, one in 10 parents surveyed doesn’t know where to get help. However, 47 percent of parents look to online sources for tips and guidelines.

The survey also found that parents think their children use the devices primarily for calls and texts (51.4 percent calls and 41.9 percent texts), compared to a smaller group of parents (less than 7 percent) who think their children use their devices for online apps, social media, or taking photos and videos.

The national online survey of 519 parents with children ages 6 to 17 was conducted in July 2011 by Synovate, a global market research firm. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent. To view the full survey results, visit www.smartphoneparenting.com.

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