Children turn to tablets as mobile usage falls

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The number of children who own a mobile phone has fallen for the first time as they turn to tablet computers to access the internet.

And the number of children who say they have an online social media profile has also fallen for the first time, down from 81 per cent last year to 68 per cent among 12 to 15-year-olds, Ofcom figures suggest.

While nearly all 12 to 15-year-olds with an active online profile continue to use Facebook (97 per cent), they are now less likely to have a profile on Bebo (four per cent, down from eight per cent last year) and more likely to have a profile on Twitter (37 per cent, up from 25 per cent).

The overall number of children aged five to 15 owning a mobile fell from 49 per cent last year to 43 per cent this year, the first decrease since Ofcom began compiling the figures in 2005.

Tablet computers are becoming a must-have device for children of all ages, according to Ofcom’s figures. The use of tablets has tripled among five to 15-year-olds, up from 14 per cent to 42 per cent since 2012, and more than a quarter (28 per cent) of three and four-year-olds now use a tablet computer at home.