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9 In 10 Children Have A Mobile Phone
The Guardian
June 29, 2001

Nine out of 10 children under the age of 16 have a mobile phone and 10% talk for more than 45 minutes every day, according to research published yesterday.

It comes a year after the Stewart Group stated in its report that the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged.

The Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University spoke to 1,000 pupils, 941 of whom were under 16, the age range which the Stewart report targeted, and the number on which the report's figures are based.

The figures show that 90% of those under 16 have a mobile, and over two-thirds have had it for between one and three years. While 77% of the 941 use their phone for less than 15 minutes per day, 5.4% speak for over an hour and 4.6% talk for more than 45 minutes daily.

Almost all the children (96%) send and receive text messages, although only 16% send 10 or more messages a day.

Only 11% of the under-16s surveyed believe they have been affected by radiation from the phone, with most stating headaches as the main effect.

And almost half of those surveyed would believe independent scientists about research into mobile phone safety, with 24% listening to the government, and 15% to the media.

The survey was carried out by the Pupil Researcher Initiative (PRI), a curriculum development project from two of the UK's research councils.

Tony Sherborne of PRI, who devised the survey, said: "I'm amazed how much time some students spend on their mobiles. We're tackling a range of contemporary issues for the newly revised science curriculum - to make pupils think about the uncertainties and controversies involved.

Alan Preece, a medical physics researcher at Bristol Oncology Centre, said: "Until such time as the research assures us there are no health effects, short- or long-term, then the more children themselves are informed, the better."

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