UK independent communications regulator Ofcom has published a report that claims younger children are swapping mobile phones for tablet devices. The number of British kids aged five to 15 who own a mobile phone has fallen by six per cent, to 43 per cent. This is the first dip in eight years, since the first similar report was published.
The finding is part of Ofcom's annual Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report. It reveals that tablet ownership for children has risen dramatically over the past year. In 2012, 4 per cent of eight to 11-year-olds were said to own tablet devices. Now that figure has risen to 18 per cent.
Ownership among older children, from 12 to 15-years of age, has risen from seven per cent to 26 per cent. Smartphones remain more widely used by this age group, with 62 per cent owning a smartphone, but they are clearly adopting larger devices too.
Tablet usage by toddlers, which includes access to a family or parent's device, has also grown dramatically. The report finds that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of infants aged three or four use a tablet at home.
Ofcom also claims that children's use of traditional forms of internet access - including laptops, netbooks and desktop computers - has declined. Only 68 per cent of children now use computers to access the internet, down from 85 per cent last year.
As for parents themselves, almost half of them (47 per cent) say they know less than their children about the internet. That includes 14 per cent of parents of infants aged three or four.
The full report can be found at ofcom.org.uk.