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Kids' Cell Phone Ownership Has Dramatically Increased in Past Five Years

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Cell phone ownership among children has increased 68% in the past five years, according to MRI's recently released American Kids Study. Twenty percent of U.S. children ages 6 11 currently own a cell phone, up from 11.9% of children in 2005. The most dramatic increase has been among 10 11 year olds ( 80.5%).

Moreover, in the past three years there has been a spurt in cell phone ownership among boys. Cell ownership among boys increased 47.6% since 2007, compared with a 17.2% increase among girls.

"This large increase in cell phone ownership, particularly among boys, comes as more wireless providers are targeting parents through feature-rich, kid friendly phones such as Disney Mobile's LG Phone and the Firefly Communications FlyPhone," said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing & Strategic Planning at MRI.

"Preliminary data suggests that boys and girls may use their phones differently. Girls are more apt to make calls and send text messages while boys are more likely to instant message, access the Internet and download games, music and video. It will be interesting to explore these data over the next few years and see if this trend continues."

Top Cell Phone Activities for Children Age 6-11

Activity %
Call my parents 88.1%
Call friends 68.1%
Emergency Purposes 55.7%
Text Messaging 54.1%
Play Games 49.0%
Take Pictures 47.8%
Listen to music 34.4%
Picture messaging 24.2%
Download ringtones 16.5%

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