EE: A third of parents intend to gift their kids a new phone or connected device this Christmas

According to a poll conducted by EE, a third of parents are planning to buy a new phone or connected device for their children – with one in ten parents even doing so for kids as young as six.

EE logo

There are a multitude of opinions on whether giving a child a connected device is a good or bad thing, and the age at which they receive their first device(s) is also regularly debated on parenting forums, as well as throughout the mainstream media.

EE has therefore done some research, in association with Internet Matters, to find out what parents are intending to do this Christmas.

For those who do decide to buy their children a connected device/phone, the network has guidance on setting up parental controls – including a ‘Nice Device List’ that hosts a quiz to provide advice in an entertaining fashion, along with essential online safety information.

You can see the results of the survey in the press release below.

More information

Press Release

EE and Internet Matters launch online safety quiz as a third of parents plan on gifting their child a phone or connected device this Christmas

  • Research finds half of parents feel children are safer with a connected device and two thirds consider it essential for their children’s education
  • Nonetheless, over three quarters (77%) of parents worry about the content their child could access and nearly half worry about the right age to gift a device
  • To help guide confused parents, EE and Internet Matters have created the ‘Nice Device List’, a festive quiz for guidance on parental controls and online safety information including EE’s Set Up Safe service

London, 14th December 2020 – EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, has launched its ‘Nice Device’ quiz to help keep kids safe online, as new research shows almost a third (30%) of parents plan to gift their child a mobile phone or connected device this Christmas. However, over three quarters of parents worry about what content their children will access online, with a third considering parental controls but not knowing where to start.

EE’s poll of parents (between 30th November and 1st December 2020 of 1000 parents with children aged six to 15) with children aged 6 to 15 found that establishing the right age to give a child their first mobile device is a real challenge, with concerns around access to inappropriate content and social media at the forefront. Just over one in ten would gift to their child as young as six years old, although the majority (25%) said that 10 years old was the most suitable. 

Six in ten parents said they were ‘relaxed’ about introducing technology at an early age. In fact, almost two thirds (65%) consider it ‘necessary’ for their child to have a phone, laptop or tablet for their education. More than half (63%) felt much safer if their child owned a mobile phone so they can always keep in touch with them.

The Nice Device quiz tests parents’ knowledge on the basics of online safety and points to sources of advice like EE’s Set Up Safe service for mobile handsets. The free service created with online safety experts Internet Matters recommends and installs safety settings such as adult content lock, spending caps and blocking calls and texts to premium numbers, so parents can feel confident their child is safely using their phone outside of the home. Parents are also encouraged to have regular conversations with their children about any potential risks they may face online.

Mat Sears, Consumer Corporate Affairs Director at EE said: “We know this Christmas many parents will be thinking about giving their child a new mobile phone or connected device. Technology has become an increasingly indispensable part of children’s lives, whether it’s for staying in touch or keeping up with school work. This is why we want to help parents understand how they can keep their child safe online.

“Alongside Internet Matters we’ve designed the ‘Nice Device List’ quiz as an informative and fun way for parents to learn some of the dos and don’ts around online safety, and stay safe online.”

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “For parents about to give their children new connected devices, perhaps even their first mobile phone, it can be an anxious time. Naturally, there are risks but with the right information, guidance and digital tools parents will be better prepared to protect their children online.

“We would strongly encourage any parents giving their child a connected device this Christmas to apply age-appropriate safety settings. It’s also important to set clear boundaries from the start to balance their screen time and ensure they are making the most out of their time online.

“Crucially, parents need to be having regular open and honest conversations with their children about the online world and how to stay digitally safe. Only by having these frequent chats can we help children navigate their online world safely.” 

EE’s Set Up Safe service is for all pay monthly customers and provides parents with guidelines for their children’s online activity. This is part of EE’s wider strategy to help parents keep their children safe online on its network.

More information can be found on the Set Up Safe website

The safety setting packages cover the following controls:

  • International roaming (outside the EU)
  • Content lock
  • Spending cap
  • International call blocking
  • Additional data purchases
  • Charges to bill (paying for additional services through a phone bill)
  • Blocking calls and texts to premium number


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.