Everything About Teenage Cell phone Use Stats Over The Years

The conversation about children and cell phone statistics is not new. We have it every couple of years. This conversation encompasses both children, teens and adults. In recent years, cell phone usage among these groups has been steadily rising. 

You can guarantee that almost everyone is carrying around a cell phone. A person would sooner forget their wallet or handbag than their cell phone. It is an addiction that can give alcohol or other substances a run for their money.

According to a recent Statista survey, on children and cell phones statistics, over half (66.53 percent) of the global population had a device. It estimates that the number will reach 4.68 billion worldwide in the following years.

However, in this article, we will focus on children and cell phone statistics. From when they use their first phone to when they own one. We will also look at what teenagers are up to on these phones and which popular apps they find most addictive.

Finally, we will learn whether parents monitor and check their kids’ phone usage and, if so, how they are doing it.


Cell Phone Usage Studies Among Children

There are two stages of cell phone usage among children. First, children are exposed to cell phones that belong to parents, guardians or relatives to watch cartoons, see funny videos, and play simple games.

Then, at a certain point, which differs from parent to parent depending on several factors, children are allowed to own a cell phone. These factors can include but are not limited to parents’ financial status, social class, peer pressure and children’s behavior. 

Some parents will give their children ultimatums and rules they must follow before getting a cell phone of their own such as good grades, following curfew, and helping out around the house. 

However, age is the leading determinant of when children get to have their cell phones. 

Let us look at the statistics on teenage cell phone use.

  • By ten, 40% of US parents allow their children to have personal phones. Parents believe that children have some sense of understanding, maturity, and responsibility at this age or older. 
  • By the age of 13, 65% of pre-teenagers had a phone. This is the generally socially acceptable age when many children get to have their own phones. Parents believe that children can now have some privacy and freedom to interact with the outside world, friends and family. 
  • Almost 10% of parents confessed to giving their child their first phone when they were six or younger.
  • 25% of parents wait until their child is 11 to 12 years old before getting them their own phone.
  • Interestingly, 1% of parents allow their child to have their own phone at two. They primarily watch games, cartoons and learn simple concepts like rhymes or the alphabet.
  • By the age of four, only 4% of parents allow their child to have their own phone.

Why do parents give their children cell phones at a certain age

Whether at the age of two or twelve, parents have different reasons for exposing their children to cell phones. In a study conducted by SellCell, some parents were asked to give their honest opinions on why they gave their children cell phones at a particular age, and these were the findings: 

  • 4 in 10 parents allow their children to use cell phones to enjoy some peace, quiet and stillness. Let’s face it, parenting can be a lot, and the moments of quietness are rare and precious when you find the time. 

For this reason, sometimes, parents may pick certain hours during the day to get some alone time while allowing their kids to enjoy some entertainment on their phones. 

  • 83% of parents allow their kids to use a phone so that they may keep in constant contact with them. Cell phones are a great way to keep tabs on your children, especially if you are not a stay-at-home parent who spends almost all their time with their kids. 

In addition, you can track the exact location of your child using their mobile phone. This is a handy feature given the rise in kidnapping and missing child cases of late.

  • 53% of parents allowed cell phones because they believe they are educationally advantageous. Cell phones are an excellent learning tool for children. We are lucky to live during a time when vast amounts of information are available to use with a single click. There is a lot children can learn from the internet that they may not necessarily learn at school. Be it on social media platforms like YouTube or search engines like Google. 
  • 50% of parents allow their children to use cell phones to communicate with their friends. Children, just like adults, enjoy talking to their friends and catching up outside the gates of their schools. 

Children want to join group chats and interact with their friends without being restricted or policed. During their formative years, it is good to expose children to their peers so they can learn social skills and form bonds.


How much time per day do kids spend on their phone

We are at the most debated part of the conversation on teenage cell phone use- the amount of time children spend on their phones. There are different sides to this story. Some people believe that children spend way too much time on their phones. It has a significant impact on their social skills, behavioral issues, obesity, cyberbullying and exposure to explicit content.

Other people believe that the positives of teenage cell phone use outweigh the negatives. They believe that children are exposed to diverse cultures, learn new skills, and get to interact with family, friends and peers. 

In July 2019, SellCell conducted a poll in the United States on 1135 respondents eighteen years of age and younger, and these were some of the core findings:

  • 42% of children spend 30 hours on their smartphones every week. This means roughly 4 in 10 children spend over a full day’s worth of time on their phones. This translates into children spending two full days per week on their cell phones.
  • 42 percent of parents confessed to allowing their child to spend 3 hours or more per day on their phone. This is probably so that the parents can get a much-needed break while the children remain entertained or educated.
  • 35.6 percent of children spend one to two hours every day on their cell phones. 
  • 15.1 percent of children spend more than 4 hours each day on the phone. 
  • 26.9 percent of children spend 3 to 4 hours on their cellular devices.
  • 35.6 percent of kids spend 1 to 2 hours on their phone.
  • 22.5 percent of kids spend less than an hour on their phone.
  • Every year, children spend over 1500 hours on their cell phones. This staggering figure shows how much of an influence the digital era and the age of social media can have on children if it goes unchecked.

How do children spend their time on these cellular devices

Now that you know children spend a whopping 1500 hours a year on their cell phones, you must be curious about how they spend this time. Are they making friends, studying and completing assignments with friends, playing video games, blogging and vlogging? 

In a recent poll, parents were asked what activities they noticed their children indulged in on their phones, and these were their answers.

  • 57% of children use their phones to play video games. There is a wide range of video games that children enjoy, like Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, Fortnite, and League of Legends. These video games have become even more popular because users can now chat with other games and even send each other videos or audios

This is closely trailed by 50% of kids who watch TV/movies on their phones regularly. Gone are the days when children had to bundle up in front of the one TV in the house to watch their favorite shows. Now, your child can watch their favorite shows and movies anytime and anywhere on their phones.

  • 20% of children spend their time on social media. Children are no different from adults; they get most of their validation from how popular they are on various social media sites. Their validation comes from how many likes, follows, retweets, and reposts they have. 

Apart from recognition, social media allows children to open up more because of its anonymity (optional- as some choose to use their real identities). Children are more comfortable sharing their thoughts on social media in hopes of finding a safe and loving community.

  • Almost 40% of kids spend time taking videos and photos on their phones. These videos and pictures are mostly for their social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and WhatsApp.

Kids are also spending a significant amount on their phones talking with family. Cell phones allow children to constantly contact parents who have to work during the day or who have long shifts that may even stretch over twenty-four hours. In addition, they can stay in touch with distant relatives who are distributed across different states. 

Completing homework was the least popular activity on children’s phones, accounting for only 18 percent. But, of course, you can’t blame children; the different social media platforms can be quite a distraction when getting an assignment done.


Most Popular Apps Ranked By The Percentage Of Kids Who Use Them

New apps are popping up every other day, and kids are always excited to learn how to use them and have fun with them. 

We compiled a list of the most popular apps based on the number of kids who use them.

  • YouTube

YouTube is a free video-sharing platform where you may conveniently film, share and watch videos. According to a Pew Research Center study from last year, YouTube is the most popular digital platform, with 85 percent of kids aged 13 to 17 and 2.6 billion people using it. Roughly 69% of children use this site. 

  • TikTok

The app has more than 80 million subscribers and is placed 16th on Apple’s list of the most popular apps in 2018.

 TikTok has even eclipsed Instagram as the second most popular social networking app among teenagers. Roughly 32% of children use and enjoy this platform. TikTok is a platform for short-form videos that are lively, spontaneous, and authentic. 

  • Spotify

Spotify, like Apple Music, is a streaming service with over 25 million subscribers that allows you to listen to music and download and stream millions of songs and podcasts for no charge. About 30% of kids use this app and open it several times a day. Some even confess to having podcasts or music playing throughout the day as they go about their day.

  • Netflix

Are you searching for the most talked-about TV shows and films from around the world? They’re all available on Netflix.

They have award-winning shows, films, documentaries, and stand-up specials. In addition, you can watch Netflix while you travel, commute, or relax with the mobile app. So it is no surprise that Netflix has over 12 million subscribers, and about 27.4% of those are children.

  • Among Us

Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game developed and distributed by Innersloth, an American gaming studio with over 60 million daily subscribers by September 2020. The game is cross-platform compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows. Among Us is used by about 26% of children today.


Most Addictive Apps Ranked By Average Number Of Minutes Used Daily

Even with the hundreds of apps available to children, there are a few select ones that children find the most addictive, as you will see below. We will rank them based on the number of minutes kids use them daily.

  • TikTok

Children spend about 105.1 minutes on Tiktok watching, streaming and sharing videos.

  • YouTube

Kids spend around 102.6 minutes on YouTube, either watching or sharing videos.

  • Roblox

Roblox is an online gaming platform and game development system built by Roblox Corporation that enables users to design games and play games created by other players. Unsurprisingly, kids spend roughly 90 minutes on it in a day.

  • Amino

Amino is a platform where you can explore your hobbies, express your experience, and find your people. You can share the highlights of your hobbies with millions of people and interact with other fans in communities centered on your interests. Children spend 89.5 minutes on Amino throughout the day.

  • Avakin Life

Avakin Life is a 3D life simulation computer and mobile video game created and distributed by Lockwood Publishing. Currently, it has over 200 million registered users on iOS, Android, and Chrome OS and over a million daily gamers. Children spend about 86.6% minutes on it throughout the day. 

Knowing what parents know about social media and its dark side, we asked them whether they monitor their children’s phone usage. These days, phones come with many features that allow parents to monitor their children’s phone activity, limit it and restrict access to some sites, features, and in-built and downloadable apps. 

As you could have guessed, parents are secret cell snoopers. Nearly 9 out of 10 parents know their kid’s phone passcode. 

  • A whopping 88% of parents know the passcode to their kid’s phone, so they can make sure their children are not gaining access to sites and apps with inappropriate or violent content. They also want to check their messages and social media profiles to ensure they are not sharing too much private information or being tricked by predators.
  • Only 12% of parents do not know their child’s phone passcode. 

Although smartphones have many features that let you monitor, restrict and regulate your child’s phone usage, they are not entirely efficient. A tech-savvy person can find some loopholes and cracks in the system that will let them contact your child undetected or let your child hide their phone activity.

To help protect your child and teach them positive habits, we highly recommend utilizing parental control apps such as MMGuardian. In addition to the app’s daily limits and screen locking to prevent phone/app overuse, MMGuardian allows you to view your child’s SMS texts and messages in popular social media apps, including TikTok. MMGuardian also provides you with AI-based alerts if any concerning messages are detected, such as a predator trying to contact your child, so you don’t have to worry about reading every one of your child’s messages. In 2020, MMGuardian sent parents 2.5 million safety alerts regarding the risk of:

– predators/grooming

– drugs

– cyberbullying

– suicidal thoughts

– violence

– sexting

To watch some educational videos about MMGuardian, click here, or you can go ahead and sign up for a free trial!


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