Mobile ownership and usage among UK childrenIn 2021, around 60 percent of kids aged between eight and 11 years in the UK owned a smartphone, while children aged between five and seven having access to their own device were approximately 30 percent. Mobile phones were also the second most popular devices used to access the web by children aged between eight and 11 years, as tablet computers were still the most popular option for users aged between three and 11 years. Children were not immune to the popularity acquired by short video format content in 2020 and 2021, spending an average of 97 minutes per day engaging with TikTok, as well as over 50 minutes on the YouTube app in 2021.
Children data protectionIn 2021, 37 percent of U.S. parents and 44 percent of UK parents reported being slightly concerned with their children’s device usage habits. While the share of parents reporting to be very or extremely concerned was considerably smaller, children are considered among the most vulnerable digital audiences and need additional attention when it comes to data and privacy protection. According to a study conducted during the first quarter of 2022, 76 percent of children’s apps hosted in the Google Play Store and 67 percent of apps hosted in the Apple App Store transmitted users’ locations to advertisers.
Additionally, 42 percent of kids’ apps were found to collect persistent identifiers, such as users’ IP addresses, which could potentially lead to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations in the United States. In the United Kingdom, companies have to take into account several obligations when considering online environments for children, including an age-appropriate design and avoiding sharing children’s data.