One in three elementary school kids have their own mobile phone


At what age did you first start carrying a mobile phone? graph of japanese statisticsPerhaps this Christmas many children in both Japan and the rest of the world found a mobile phone in their stockings. To see how elementary school-aged children view their phones, goo Research released on Christmas day the results of a survey of users of Kids goo (goo’s child-targeted portal) on children’s use of mobile phones.


Between the 9th and 26th of November 2007 1,100 elementary school-aged users of the Kids goo portal completed a public survey available through the web site. 60.0% were girls, 3.7% in first year of elementary school, 4.8% in second year of elementary school, 7.7% in third year of elementary school, 20.0% in fourth year of elementary school, 28.9% in fifth year of elementary school, and 34.9% in sixth year of elementary school.

In Q6, it’s interesting to see the differences between the sexes; boys have significantly less contact with friends through mobile phones. The reasons for this would be fascinating to investigate further; is it that girls are more sociable with their friends, or do boys prefer to meet in person, or is there another driving force behind the differences?

In Q7 I’m really surprised that 45% of the mobile phone using children have basically no parent-enforced usage rules. I would hope that the parent has set up limits with the service provider such as blocking potentially harmful sites or even turning off internet access altogether, and other limits such as not allowing them to make any payments for site access or content download.

Research results

Q1: Do you have use of a mobile phone? (Sample size=1,100)

  All Boys
Have one for my own use 34.4% 29.4% 37.8%
Share one with siblings 2.6% 2.7% 2.4%
Parents give me one when I need it (to Q5) 19.3% 19.4% 19.2%
Yes, other usage pattern (to Q5) 3.1% 4.7% 2.0%
Don’t use a mobile phone (to end of survey) 40.7% 43.8% 38.7%

Q2: What kind of mobile phone do you have? (Sample size=406)

Child-targeted phone 37.2%
Adult-type phone 60.1%
Don’t know 2.7%

Q3: At what age did you first start carrying a mobile phone? (Sample size=406)

Before entering school 9.6%
From first year 7.1%
From second year 8.6%
From third year 19.5%
From fourth year 25.1%
From fifth year 19.2%
From sixth year 10.8%

Q4: What was the cue for you to start carrying a mobile phone? (Sample size=406)

Told parents I wanted one and they bought it for me 32.3%
Parents said I should have one 43.4%
School, cram school, etc said I should have one 13.1%
Other 11.3%

Those who get a phone from their parents as needed, etc, were also asked the following questions.

Q5: Who do you communicate with and how? (Sample size=652, multiple answer)

  All Boys Girls
Talk with parents, family 76.7% 73.9% 78.4%
Email with parents, family 59.1% 48.2% 65.8%
Email with friends 45.9% 28.1% 56.8%
Talk with friends 37.3% 27.7% 43.2%
Use bulletin boards, chat, etc 8.1% 11.2% 6.2%
Other 6.9% 8.8% 5.7%

Q6: What functions do you use on your mobile phone? (Sample size=652, multiple answer)

Clock, alarm clock 79.9%
Listen to music 62.3%
Electronic wallet functions 7.7%
Camera 81.9%
Anti-crime buzzer 25.3%
Other 3.1%

Q7: What rules have your family set regarding mobile phone use? (Sample size=652, multiple answer)

How much I can spend 25.0%
What functions I can use 21.6%
Who I can talk, email to 19.5%
What situations I can use it 11.4%
What times I can use it 7.7%
Other 2.5%
No particular rules 45.9%

Q8: What does having a mobile phone mean to you? (Sample size=652)

  All Boys Girls
Problem if I don’t have one! 39.7% 33.3% 43.7%
Best to have if possible 49.9% 49.0% 50.4%
Wouldn’t care if I didn’t have one 10.0% 16.9% 5.7%
Other 0.5% 0.8% 0.3%
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  1. April 4, 2012 @ 22:04

    […] child-targeted portal Kids goo conducted a survey on mobile phone use, with the results in What Japan Thinks. Bearing in mind all the problems with self-selected respondees to a survey that was only given to […]