CELLPHONE
Young girls in Karachi check the mobile phone for info. Sleep deprivation among children, rewiring and stressing the brain by constant reading of social media content, inability to live a full life are some troubling outcomes of social media addiction being noticed. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

While various stakeholders including parents are deliberating to decide on the correct age for using a smartphone, a survey has found that one in four children under the age of six in Britain has a smartphone.

According to the researchers from online trade-in outlet musicMagpie, 25 percent of children aged six and under already have their own mobile and nearly half of these spend up to 21 hours per week on their devices, The Independent reported on Monday.

More than three-quarters of parents paid up to 500 pounds for their child's first phone with two-thirds admitting they dona¿t cap the monthly spend, the survey noted.

"While the majority of parents in our study said 11 was the acceptable' age for children to have their own phones, we saw that 25 percent of children aged six and under actually already owned one," one of the researchers Liam Howley was quoted as saying.

"The age at which children get their first phones, has got even younger, and while many agree that there's no defined age to give a child a phone, there's a lot of parents can do to ensure their child's day-to-day life isn't consumed by one," Howley added.

Researchers found that eight in 10 parents don't limit the number of time children spends on their phones.

Parents in Britain feel that age 11 is the "ideal" age for children to have a phone.

More and more kids are hooked on to screens and parents globally are worried how to create homework-play balance and help children cut screen addiction.

A non-profit group Parents Against Underage Smartphones, or PAUS, in the US state of Colorado, has sought a ban on the sale of the device to those below the age of 13.

According to a recent study, more time teenagers spend on smartphones and other electronic screens, the more likely they are to feel depressed and attempt suicide.

"Screen time should be considered a modern-day risk factor for depression and suicide," said Thomas Joiner, Professor at Florida State University in the US.

(IANS)