According to a recent UScellular survey[1] to uncover usage trends, attitudes and habits of Gen Z and millennial smartphone consumers, the age when kids get their first phone is holding steady. Both parents and non-parents think, on average, that 13 years old is an appropriate age for a child to have their first phone.

From the survey, nearly 9 out of 10 parents reported monitoring their child’s phone usage, with app usage (85 percent) and time spent on the phone (68 percent) as the most commonly monitored areas. Consistent with monitoring usage, 74 percent of parents are likely to speak with their children about their app usage and safe web browsing. UScellular recognizes this need to help parents and kids navigate how they use their smartphones and has a variety of helpful resources at http://www.digitalfamilymatters.com.

Here are some of the data points that stood out from this year’s survey:

Phones bring value to consumers’ lives, but some have concerns

o Over half of consumers say that their phone enhances their life.

o Many say that they would be unable to take pictures/videos (60 percent) or stay in touch with friends/family (58 percent).

o When asked what they would not be able to do without their phone, 32 percent said they would not be able to pay for things, 25 percent couldn’t do work/homework and 19% would not be able to cook or prepare meals.

o Thirty-one percent expressed concern for their financial information if they lost their phones given their reliance on them for finances.

o Thirty-two percent of respondents expressed that they could use some time apart from their phones and 28  percent) wish they were less dependent on them.

Concern about losing their phone is also quite high

o Most would rather experience many uncomfortable events before having to lose their phone: Three out of four respondents would rather go to the dentist, 68 percent would rather go on a terrible date, 65 percent would rather sit next to a crying baby on an airplane and 57 percent would rather give up all their holiday gifts.

o On average, the maximum amount of time consumers would be willing to spend to get their phone if they left it at home would range between 15 and 20 minutes.

o Thirty-one percent say they are most concerned about losing access to bank/credit card accounts. Twenty three percent are most concerned about losing photos on their phone.

Social media consumes much of each generation’s phone usage

o Three in four respondents said they spend at least one hour per day on social media, more than any other individual activity.

o The most common social media app remains Facebook, but this is driven by high usage among older millennials.

o Gen Z in particular use TikTok and Snapchat more than older generations.

Consumers are optimistic about the impact of 5G technology

o Those who currently own their first 5G phone most commonly say that video streaming (48%), using mobile apps (47 percent), and making video calls (46 percent) is easier with this phone than their previous one.

o Sixty-six percent of consumers feel that continued advancements in mobile technology will lead to faster gaming and streaming.

o Sixty-four percent believe that improving mobile technology will lead to greater access to digital resources for education.

[1]Between January 21 and January 30, a total of 1014 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample of U.S. consumers between 18-40 years old by Consumer Insights, in partnership with InMoment, Inc.

UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or http://www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.