12 considered to be the ‘age of independence’ for school kids

At age 11, British kids start walking to school alone and get their first smartphone, according to a study by Sky Mobile.

At age 13, they start earning extra money from paper rounds and also begin shopping by themselves. Kids begin receiving pocket money from the age of nine, yet a fifth of youngsters are trusted with money from as young as six.

The Sky Mobile study of 2,000 mums and dads of school-aged children found that parents believe ‘the age of independence’ starts at 12 years old, when children start displaying signs of no longer relying on their parents – and often the age where they are given additional freedoms and responsibilities, such as greater access to the internet.

Eight in 10 think children are growing up more quickly due to advances in technology exposing them to more information and content. UK children now begin asking for a smartphone from before they reach the age of nine – although many parents won’t relent until they reach at least 11.

Almost eight out of 10 parents have bought their child a smartphone by the time they reach 13 - with one in eight planning to buy their child a phone ahead of the start of the coming school year.

The main reason for giving a child their own smartphone, according to 57 per cent of parents, is simply to keep in touch on the way to and from school. However, 51 per cent worry about their child racking up huge bills and another 62 per cent express concern over kids accessing inappropriate content. 57 per cent also worry about online bullying, while three quarters restrict the time their kids spend using their smartphones, according to the OnePoll.com data.

Sophia Ahmad, Director of Sky Mobile, said: “Irrespective of age, all children mature at different rates and there’s no magic number that suits everyone. For parents considering buying their children their first phone, features such as Sky Mobile’s Roll will help mums and dads keep track of monthly data usage across the whole household.”

With Sky Mobile’s Roll, any unused data will “roll over” automatically into a parent’s Sky Mobile Piggybank at the end of the month. Parents can then add data to their child’s SIM when they need it or move data between all the other SIMs in their household. Parents can also choose to exchange data in their Piggybank for money off new mobiles, tablets, and accessories from Sky Mobile.

Sky is committed to keeping children safe online and when they’re watching TV, recently launching several new features designed to help parents protect toddlers to teens. The ‘Parents Guide’ on Sky Q helps parents to make more informed decisions about movies, while Sky Broadband Buddy helps families to manage their internet access in and out of the home, and the Sky Kids app provides a safe and fun space for children to watch their favourite characters. Sky are also founding members of not-for-profit organisation Internet Matters who help families stay safe online, providing resources for parents, carers and educational professionals.

Carolyn Bunting, Chief Executive of Internet Matters said: “More than ever, children are growing up with access to a range of connected devices and services, and it is encouraging to see Sky not only developing products that work for families, but ones that ensure children’s wellbeing and safety are prioritised.

A child’s first smart phone often coincides with the move to secondary school, and it’s important we equip children with the right knowledge and tools to navigate their new and exciting online world”.

Sky Mobile also recently announced the launch of the SPACETALK Kids Watch, a smartwatch designed for children aged 5-12 packed with clever features designed with child safety in mind.


  •  Be given pocket money: 9
  •  Go outside and play with friends unsupervised: 10
  • Walk to and from school alone: 11
  • Go to a local park alone: 11
  • Use the internet unsupervised: 11
  • Spend a night away on a school trip: 11
  • Go to a city centre/local town alone: 11
  • Have a sleepover at a friend’s house without their parents: 12
  • Start earning their own money by babysitting or a paper round: 13
  • Stay at home in the evening without a babysitter: 13
  • Go shopping alone: 13
  • Own a mobile phone: 11

For more information on how to keep children safe online visit internetmatters.org


*Based on OnePoll research commissioned by Sky Mobile: 2,000 respondents, parents of school aged children

Sky Mobile plans at a glance:

Roll – with Sky Mobile, unused data is automatically rolled into your Sky Piggybank each month so you get to keep it for up to three years. Unused data rolled into a Sky Piggybank can be redeemed if you need a data boost, or exchanged for money off a new phone, tablet, or mobile accessories

Mix – Mix lets you to change your data allowance, up or down, each month to match how much you use, without changing contracts

Watch – Sky Mobile’s newest feature gives you unlimited streaming on all Sky Apps, including Sky Go, Sky Sports and Sky Kids, without using your data. You can also download great entertainment to watch offline with Sky Go Extra at no additional cost

Save – all Sky Mobile’s SIMO and handset plans come with free Unlimited Calls & Texts as standard

Swap – Swap12 gives you the flexibility to upgrade your phone every year without changing contracts. Or choose Swap24 to guarantee Sky Mobile’s lowest monthly cost on any handset, with the option to upgrade after two years

More details on Sky Mobile can be found at sky.com/mobile.

For further information, please contact:

Fever PR


About Sky

With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 31,000 employees help connect our customers with the very best of Sports, News, the arts and to our own local, original content. Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, Patrick Melrose, Das Boot and Gommorah we launched Sky Studios and now plan to more than double our investment in original drama and comedy over the next five years.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, it is our responsibility to do it safely – that’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. Our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign has reached millions across Europe, we’re on track to be free of single-use plastic by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re a proud employer – recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our approach to inclusivity.