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One in five kids have their own smartphone

  • Over 290,000 kids will start high school in 2018, many with their own phones
  • 44% of Aussies think 13 to 15 is the right age for a device
  • Prepaid plans and smartphones for teens

5 December 2017, Sydney, Australia – A smartphone will be on a lot of Christmas wish lists this year with many kids already proud owners of their own device, reveals research from, the site that compares virtually everything.

According to the survey of 2,005 parents, one in five (22%) children aged 12 and under already have their own smartphone. The need to stay in touch, starting high school, and getting to and from school alone were some of the top factors for giving kids a device.

With less than three weeks until Christmas, Alex Kidman, tech expert at, suspects many parents would be considering smartphones as gifts for their children, but he advises parents to take time and prepare themselves before taking the plunge.

“Over 290,0001 children will start high school in 2018. If a phone is on the back-to-school list, some families might consider adding it to the Christmas present list,” he says.

“It can be a mixed blessing. Your children are easier to reach, it's true. But giving your child a smartphone can open the door to many problems such as sky high bills or online risks.”

“It’s important that children have a good balance between screen time and other activities. The last thing you want to do is distract them from homework or just being kids.”

The research shows the main reason these children own a smartphone is thanks to their parents having a spare one lying around, showing hand-me-downs are common among families. Being able to contact their child as needed was the next most common reason.

Kids who travel to and from school by themselves is another leading factor for kids having a device, closely followed by children who started high school. One in ten (10%) got a phone because they kept pestering their parents.

Why does your child have a smartphone?
I had a spare smartphone22%
To contact them when I need to19%
They make part or all of their own way to/from school18%
They started high school12%
They kept asking me for my phone or asking for their own10%
To play games9%
All of their friends had one6%
They do a lot of extra curricular activities3%
To track their location via GPS2%

Mr Kidman advises parents to stick to prepaid SIMs and budget or second-hand phones.

“If it is a Christmas present, you don’t have to fork out over $1,000 for a new iPhone.”

“Just like your parents gave you a bomb of a first car, do the same with smartphones - there are plenty of budget phones out there that won’t break the bank,” he says.

“Or consider giving an old fashioned mobile phone without Internet instead to see if they can do without a smartphone for as long as possible.”

A separate survey conducted earlier this year shows that 44% of Aussies think 13 to 15 is the best age to get a phone.

A further 24% believe kids are ripe for their first phone between 10 and 12, while over a quarter (28%) think kids should wait till they are 16 to 18.

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-Optus 4G
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Kogan Mobile Medium 30 days-Unlimited Standard national calls + unlimited texts
-6GB of data
-Vodafone 4G
$29.90 per 30 days
Boost $30 Recharge-Unlimited Standard national calls + unlimited texts
-8GB of data
-Telstra 4G
$30 per 28 days
OVO for Mobile Large $34.95-Unlimited Standard national calls + unlimited texts
-8GB of data
$300 Credit For International Calls
-Optus 4G
$34.95 per 30 days

Compare more prepaid plans at

Smartphones that won't break the bank:

  • Kogan Agora Plus $239
  • Nokia 3 $249
  • Motorola G5S $429
  • Huawei Nova 2i $499

1According to ABS Schools report, Australia, 2016


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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