The majority of children now go to sleep with a smartphone by their bedside according to a new report by Childwise, which highlights a few worrying mobile usage trends among kids aged five to 16.
The survey of 2,200 children in the UK found the majority now own a mobile device at the age of seven and that these devices go on to “dominate” lives with lengthy screen times on a daily basis.
Despite not being adults, researcher Simon Legget says mobiles are viewed as a “private and personal technology” and that parents are struggling to impose limits.
This is highlighted by the fact that 42% of children always have their phone close at hand and never shut it down.
Sleep patterns may also be affected as 57% say they have a phone beside their bed at night.
The study found 70% are connected to the internet, making smartphones predominantly always-on style devices for children.
Digital services, therefore, dominate usage with YouTube now being logged into by 61% of respondents each day.
Social media sites Snapchat, Instagram and Tik Tok, are next on the list, just ahead of messaging platform WhatsApp.
Overall, children now spend three hours and 20 minutes every day on mobiles and become increasingly anxious when they cannot access a phone signal or internet connection.
Mr Legget said: “The moment a child owns a mobile phone, it can be a challenge to monitor what your child is accessing online because it’s such a private technology that most keep literally close to their chest.”