Children being addicted to their mobile phones seems to be the common complaint of most metropolitan parents in India today. A recent consumer lab research report conducted by Ericsson states that of the 69 million children under the age of 18 residing in urban cities, 30 million have a personal handset and 11 million share it with one of their family members, while 28 million have no access to it.
The report also reveals that the average age for children acquiring a mobile phone has dropped in the country, a trend that many would have not forecasted a few years ago. It clearly reflects that more Generation Z children are acquiring handsets and their usage of telecom services is seen as an upward trend. In fact, the time spent by Generation Z on mobile phones rivals that spent on watching television and is expected to surpass it in the near future.
Apart from vocal and text conversations, Generation Z children in cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai (together constituting 45 per cent of such children) access internet via their phones or smartphones to update status on Facebook, tweet and stream videos. On an average, they spend about 40 minutes every day on these activities, say the findings.
This staggering change in mobile phone usage is attributed to several factors such as an increasingly affluent middle class that gives high pocket allowances to children and the increasing comfort of parents with technology. Parents introduce children to gadgets and smartphones at an early age for interactive learning. However, they do lay guidelines and also keep track of phone usage through monitoring of bills and scrutiny of conversations, even though many Generation Z children resist it and use applications for privacy.
The trend has opened up a huge market segment for telecom service providers and handset manufacturers. The research findings suggest that this segment is brand loyal, with specific requirements like competitive tariffs, service, support and internet speeds. The communication patterns of this segment are expected to be a major deciding factor in the future offerings of such companies.