Kids 'younger than ever' owning mobiles and topping up

19 February 2009 — 9:00 AM

The average age children own their first mobile phone is eight and those as young as seven are using pocket money to buy ringtones, a new report has stated.

Research, conducted by the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG), also discovered that kids are making decisions about money earlier than their parents did.

While 35 per cent of the respondents owned a mobile at eight, 85 per cent have one by the time they celebrate their 12th birthday.

Ten years old is the average age at which youngsters are using their mums and dads' credit cards to shop online and 40 per cent have purchased games and ringtones for use on their mobile handset.

A quarter have used the telephone to vote for a TV competition and 14 per cent said that rather than asking an adult to do so they have topped up their pay-as-you-go phone on their own.

"[The children] told us that making financial decisions helps them to feel more in control of their lives and it is precisely this positive, independent spirit that will support them in becoming effective money managers," explained PFEG chief executive Wendy van den Hende.

There are lots of ways to become savvier about personal finance - such as switching credit cards or recycling your mobile phone to receive money for it. Those who are considering a new tariff might want to consider this option and upgrade to a newer model.

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