More Kids Own Cell Phones

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Cell phone use among children has nearly doubled since 2005, but while one may think kids are just racking up text messaging charges, most of the cell phone use is for calling parents, according to recent research.

About 88% of kids ages 6 through 11 with their own cell phones use them to call their parents, according to a study by Mediamark Research & Intelligence. 

This shouldn’t put to bed fears of outrageous bills for text messaging overages for some parents, however.  About 54% of kids in this age group use their cell phones for text messaging, according to the 2009 American Kids Study of 5,000 households with kids.

Overall, 20% of kids in that age group own a cell phone, up from 11.9% in 2005.  Among kids aged 10 to 11, cell phone ownership is up nearly 81%, Mediamark found.

Over the past several years, a higher percentage of girls owned cell phones than boys, but the number of boys owning cells phones is up nearly 48%. Currently, an estimated 18.3% of boys have cell phones compared with 21.8% of girls.

“This large increase in cell phone ownership, particularly among boys, comes as more wireless providers are targeting parents through feature-rich, kid friendly phones,” said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing & Strategic Planning at Mediamark in a prepared statement.

Interestingly, the firm’s early data also shows that girls are more likely to call and text on their phones and boys are more likely to instant message and download games.

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