More than 90% of British children have a mobile phone - survey

Some 51% of all 10-year-olds in Britain own a mobile phone, but that figure rises to 91% by the time children hit the age of 12, a survey, quoted by an AFP report, said.

The report, quoting the Mobile Life Youth Report, which was commissioned by mobile phone retailer The Carphone Warehouse and advised by the London School of Economics, found that most children used their phones to send SMS rather than talk.

On average, 11- to 17-year-olds send 9.6 text messages a day, almost three times as many as their parents and makes or receives on average 3.5 calls a day, according to the survey. Adults make or receive 2.8 calls and send 3.6 texts on a daily basis.

The growing importance of, and reliance on, mobile phones was highlighted in the study, which was carried out by pollsters YouGov on 1,250 children aged 11 to 17, the report said.

Some 78% said having a mobile phone made it easier to keep in contact with friends, while 42% of girls aged 15 to 17 said they would feel "unwanted" if a day went by without a mobile phone call, the report said.

Other uses included escaping their parents: one in three youngsters said they talked regularly to and/or send text messages to people they did not want their parents to know about, the report said.