Media Release

How young is too young? One in six Aussie kids own a smartphone

    • Over 690,000 kids under 12 have their own device
    • 36% of adults think children shouldn’t have a phone at all
    • Mobile data plans for kids

18 December, 2018, Sydney, Australia – Mobile phones are set to dominate Santa's wish list this Christmas, reveals new research by, the site that compares virtually everything.

A recent survey of 2,005 parents, revealed that 17% of Aussie kids age 12 and under – equivalent to 690,000 children – own a smartphone.

Key reasons for parents giving their child a smartphone include having a spare device handy (20%), needing to contact their child throughout the day (20%), or their child travelling to and from school alone (19%).

Alex Kidman, Tech Expert at, said that with Christmas just a week away, many parents will be tossing up whether or not to take the plunge and buy their child a smartphone.

"For parents, smartphones provide reassurance that they'll be able to reach their child in the event of an emergency. However the number of hours kids are spending on screens each day is increasing."

As of next year public primary schools in New South Wales will enforce a mobile phone ban, with the intent to reduce bullying and unnecessary distraction.

"There's no doubt about it, mobiles are disruptive. If you do choose to give your child a device, it's important make sure they know that the classroom is not the right place for a phone.

"Parents also need to promote a healthy balance between screen time and other activities such as homework or playing outdoors."

The research found that while the average age for children to receive their first smartphone is seven, some kids are being given their own device as young as four. Parents who haven't yet given their child a smartphone plan to do so at 13.

Of those parents who are yet to give their child a smartphone, reasons for holding back include a lack of responsibility, wanting to limit screen time and protection from online threats.

Mr Kidman said that prepaid SIMs and low-cost or secondhand devices are a sensible option for a child's first phone.

"Smartphones can be pricey. You don't have to automatically fork out $1000 or more for a decent device – especially at Christmas.

"There's an immense range of prepaid phone plans on the market that won't break the bank. Avoid plans that allow for the data limit to be exceeded.

"Failing that, there's always a jigsaw puzzle or socks instead."

What's the main reason your child has a smartphone?
I had a spare smartphone20%
To contact them when I need to20%
They make part or all of their own way to school19%
They kept asking me for mine/asking for their own14%
To play games10%
All of their friends had one7%
They started high school7%


Top Prepaid Plans for Kids

Catch Connect 30 Day Plan-unlimited standard national calls + unlimited texts$15 per 30 days
- 3GB data
- Optus 4G network
OVO Mobile Small-unlimited standard national calls + unlimited texts$19.95 per 30 days
- 4BG data
- data-free streaming on OVOplay
- Optus 4G network
Boost Better Than Half Price SIM-unlimited standard national calls + unlimited texts$40 per 28 days
-22GB data + 23BG bonus data on first five recharges
- Data-free streaming with Apple Music
- Telstra 4G network



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About Finder

Every month 2.6 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now have offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit

12.6 million average unique monthly audience (June- September 2019), Nielsen Digital Panel

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