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Teens and millennials may be eyeing tech when back-to-school shopping, but recent research indicates that many kids get hooked up with plenty of devices before they even hit those years. A June 2015 study by The Harris Poll queried US parent internet users about the age at which their children first received various consumer electronics and mobile devices and found that the 8-to-11 age range was the most common for the majority of options.
Parents were most likely to say their children received a gaming console, digital music player, tablet or ereader between the ages of 8 and 11, while bedroom TVs and handheld gaming devices were gifted most between ages 4 and 7. Kids had to wait a little longer for a PC and mobile phone or smartphone—most likely purchased between 12 and 14 years old.
By age 17, the majority of children had every device listed besides ereaders and PCs (though the latter fell just below the halfway mark).
An April 2015 study by Bank of America found similar results when it came to smartphones. When US smartphone owners were asked about the most appropriate age for parents to buy a smartphone for their child, respondents were most likely to say the 13-to-15-year-old range, cited by 46%.
Consumers admit to too much screen time, and parents may also lump their children into this group. In July 2015 research by The Huffington Post and YouGov, 53% of US parent internet users said they felt their children spent too much time using digital devices including computers, mobile phones, TVs and video game consoles, vs. just 35% who didn’t feel this way. Males were more likely to feel this way, and this sentiment correlated with age and household income, rising with each bracket.
eMarketer estimates that 10.7 million 0- to 11-year-olds in the US will own a mobile phone and use it at least monthly this year, as will 22.0 million 12- to 17-year-olds, putting respective penetration rates at 22.0% and 88.0%. At the same time, 31.2 million consumers in the 0-to-11 (15.7 million, or 32.2% penetration) and 12-to-17 (15.5 million, or 62.1% penetration) age groups will have access to a tablet and use it at least monthly.
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