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‘Wake Up Call’: Quarter of UK’s 5 to 7-Year-Olds Owns a Smartphone

Photo from Bruce Mars via Unsplash

‘Wake Up Call’: Quarter of UK’s 5 to 7-Year-Olds Owns a Smartphone

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new report finds that almost a quarter of the UK’s five-to-seven-year-olds now have smartphones. 

“Around a quarter of 5-7 year-olds (24%) now own a smartphone, while three-quarters use a tablet  (76%),” Ofcom reported, adding, “Compared to a year ago, a higher proportion of 5-7s go online to send messages or make voice/video calls (59% to 65%) or to watch live-streamed content (39% to 50%).”

Ofcom also found that “overall use of social media sites or apps among all 5-7s has increased,” with WhatsApp use going from 29% to 37%, TikTok going from 25% to 30% and Instagram going from 14% to 22%.

The study also reported that, while 42% of parents said they use social media with their child, 32% said their child used social media independently. 

“I think this is a wake up call for [the] industry. They have to take account of the users they have, not the users that their terms and conditions say they have,” Mark Bunting, a member of Ofcom’s Online Safety Group, told BBC News. “We’ve known for a long time that children, under the age limit on a lot of the most popular apps, are widely using those apps, and companies are now under a legal obligation to take steps to keep those children safe.”

The UK’s Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Michelle Donelan, also responded to Ofcom’s findings, saying, “Children as young as five should not be accessing social media and these stark findings show why our Online Safety Act is essential.”

The Online Safety Act “contains a range of measures intended to improve online safety in the UK, including duties on internet platforms about having systems and processes in place to manage harmful content on their sites, including illegal content,” per the UK government’s website. 

Movieguide® previously reported on the Online Safety Act:

The UK Parliament recently announced the advancement of a bill that would force pornography websites to verify viewers’ age.

The Online Safety Bill seeks to protect children under 18 from exploitation and viewing explicit content. According to BBC News, the bill also holds those adult sites liable with the threat of fines or a complete URL ban in the UK.

“Parents deserve peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see,” Digital Minister Chris Philip said. “We are now strengthening the online safety bill so it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.