Almost every Aussie teen now has a mobile

Peter Terlato 22 August 2016

Teen girls on mobile phones

94% use a smartphone and 75% are on to their second or subsequent handset.

Teens are more connected today than ever before. New research shows 9 in 10 Aussie teenagers own or use a mobile phone.

Roy Morgan Research reveals a little more than one million Australian teenagers (aged 14-17) have a mobile - 94% use a smartphone and 75% are on to their second or subsequent handset.

Just one quarter (25%) of teens still make calls, send texts and browse the net using their first ever mobile phone.

Today's parents, whether out of generosity, a concern for their children's safety or a sense of social responsibility, either purchase or allow their teenage kids to have and use mobile phones.

The overwhelming majority (78%) of teens with mobile phones admit somebody else covers the costs of all or most of their credit and data. A sizeable portion (62%) of current teen handsets were purchased new, while a little over a third (38%) of teen mobile users received used phones, including hand-me-downs.

65% of teens utilise prepaid payment options, while just 35% are on a postpaid plan. This ratio is flipped when it comes to the general population's preferences.

The Apple iPhone is the most popular (58%) mobile brand among teens, followed by Samsung (22%).

However, when it comes to mobile service providers, larger corporations are suffering a declining market share among teenagers. 37% use Telstra, 21% are with Optus and 16% opt for Vodafone.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are picking up the slack, offering discounted prepaid plans and securing 26% of teenage mobile business. Virgin (7%), Amaysim (5%) and TPG, Aldi Mobile and Boost (2.5% each) are the biggest players.

Teen phone bills are around $10 less per month than the average adult mobile owner.

Those teens (22%) who personally cover the cost of their usage end up spending almost $5 less per month on average than those whose folks pick up the tab.

While parents seem happy enough to fork out the cash to keep their kids connected, the majority aren't preparing themselves financially for the cost of putting their kids through private schooling.

Teens' reliance on mobile phones may have something to do with the tapering of Aussie schoolkids' literacy and numeracy skills, with modest results across various grades and some significant skills reductions among older students in 2015.

And while excessive phone use could be detrimental to kids' education, teenagers who played video games almost every day scored above average results in maths and science.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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