Skip navigation

Parents are conflicted when it comes to phones for kids

72% of kids would rather be on their phone than watch TV. 27% use phones to stream video

Kids and cell phones survey

Ultimately, parents agree that kids need cell phones. So what’s with all the worry?

To get some answers, we shared a digital family lifestyle survey with Ting customers in our July newsletter. 1,565 parents with children under the age of 18 who have cell phones responded to the survey.

Truth be told, we didn’t expect parents to be so conflicted on the issue of kids and cell phones. While parents generally seem to be on board that kids should have phones from a utility perspective, they’re also incredibly worried about what their kids are doing with their cell phones as well as the long-term consequences.

A conflicting issue for parents

kids and cell phones

A whopping 96 percent of survey respondents say they’ve spoken with their kids about phone safety but 73 percent say they still monitor their kids’ activities on their phone.

What’s more, while most parents who took our survey have decided not to limit mobile screen time (40 percent of parents allow kids to self-regulate their screen time) the majority still use phones as a disciplinary tool. 68 percent reported taking phones away as a consequence of bad behavior.

While all of the respondents got a phone for their kids (with 91 percent being smartphones, 8 percent flip or feature phones and 1 percent smartwatches and similar) 81 percent of respondents expressed at least some concern that their child could become “addicted” to the technology.

While many parents report monitoring their kids’ texts and social media accounts, parents seem to be disinclined to actually step in and curb their kid’s use in the first place. Until, of course, they do something wrong. Then there’s also dinner time, a widely designated phone-free zone by our respondents with 79 percent reporting that they have a “no phones at the table” rule.

Most parents agree: phones are positive for their kids

59 percent agree or strongly agree that having a phone is net positive for their child.

68 percent agree or strongly agree that their child uses their phone for practical reasons.

61 percent of parents agree or strongly agree with the statement that “whether we like it or not, kids need phones.”

Let’s dive into the data

kids and cell phones
What’s in store?

What’s in store?

In the Ting shop you’ll find everything from good ol’ flip phones to the latest iPhone and Android phones.

Browse the Shop