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)

Have one for my own use34.4%29.4%37.8%
Share one with siblings2.6%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 phone37.2%
Adult-type phone60.1%
Don’t know2.7%

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

Before entering school9.6%
From first year7.1%
From second year8.6%
From third year19.5%
From fourth year25.1%
From fifth year19.2%
From sixth year10.8%

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 me32.3%
Parents said I should have one43.4%
School, cram school, etc said I should have one13.1%

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)

Talk with parents, family76.7%73.9%78.4%
Email with parents, family59.1%48.2%65.8%
Email with friends45.9%28.1%56.8%
Talk with friends37.3%27.7%43.2%
Use bulletin boards, chat, etc8.1%11.2%6.2%

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

Clock, alarm clock79.9%
Listen to music62.3%
Electronic wallet functions7.7%
Anti-crime buzzer25.3%

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

How much I can spend25.0%
What functions I can use21.6%
Who I can talk, email to19.5%
What situations I can use it11.4%
What times I can use it7.7%
No particular rules45.9%

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

Problem if I don’t have one!39.7%33.3%43.7%
Best to have if possible49.9%49.0%50.4%
Wouldn’t care if I didn’t have one10.0%16.9%5.7%
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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 […]