Study: 24% of UK Children Under 7 Own Smartphones

Study: 24% of UK Children Under 7 Own Smartphones
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The Facts

  • According to a study published by the UK's communications regulator (Ofcom) on Friday, around a quarter (24%) of British children aged between five and seven have their own smartphone.

  • Ofcom's study found that the proportion of these children using WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok had increased from 29% to 37%, 14% to 22%, and 25% to 30% respectively from a year ago.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

The Ofcom study underscores the need to ban children as young as five from accessing social media or owning smartphones and tablets, as the practice increases their incidence of mental illness. The UK government must step up and introduce legal measures, including drawing up a safety code of practice, to ensure young children are protected from sexual predators, cyberbullying, and illegal content online.

Establishment-critical narrative

The fight against smartphones is neither necessary nor practical. Banning children from buying smartphones wouldn't stop parents from giving their offspring a handset. Moreover, with the advent of artificial intelligence, smartphones will become more enmeshed in every aspect of youngsters' lives. Instead of curtailing their digital rights, children must be made aware of the dangers of technology and taught how to use it safely.

Metaculus Prediction

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