British Schoolkids Stock up on iPads, iPhones

Would Harry Potter have needed to take spells classes if he'd had access to the magic of the iPhone?

While we'll likely never know the answer to that question, we do know that 10 percent of British schoolchildren under the age of 10 are now iPhone users, according to a new survey released by cloud service vendor Westcoastcloud. The company commissioned a survey of 2000 British parents of children ages 10 and under to determine how big a role emerging technologies play in their lives. In addition to finding that 10 percent of British children own an iPhone, the survey also found that 5 percent of British children own an iPad. (See also "10 Useful iPad Apps for Students.")

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Of the parents who bought their children smartphones, 68 percent said they did so to keep better track of their children. Most British parents reported paying around 10 British pounds per month (US $15.44) on their children's phone bills, although 20 percent of parents said their children's monthly phone expenses top 20 pounds (US $30.89) or more. (See also "6 Tips for Smart Back-to-School Spending on Tech.")

As for what British children are using their smartphones for, the survey found that 20 percent of child smartphone users text message, 10 percent can use the device to go online and 5 percent draft and send e-mail on their smartphones. Most children primarily use their smartphone to make phone calls, however, which fits in with parents' desire to keep better tabs on their children.

The biggest potential trouble spot, said the survey, was that half of the parents question "said they have no parental controls installed on their Internet connected devices to block access to certain websites ... despite 5 percent of parents saying their child uses their phone or laptop when they are out." Westcoastcloud Director Bill Strain said that parents who let their children adopt connected technologies need to be more careful in filtering what their children can access.

"If parents are happy for their children to be using these products they need to understand that the Internet is not a private place," he said. "Filtering products are available that can help parents keep their kids safe online."

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