On average, youngsters are bought their first handset at the age of 11, soon after starting secondary school.

However, some 9% of parents said they bought their children a phone when they were five.

The study by comparison site uSwitch.com also found that mums and dads spend an average £125 on their children’s gadgets – and around £246 on their own mobiles.

But despite the cost, 42% said they did not pay close attention to their children’s phone bills.

Only a quarter capped their youngster’s contracts, while just 3% said they disabled the data function on their phones so that they could only be used for making calls or sending text messages.

Children spend an average £11 per month on their mobiles – less than parents who spend £19.

However, more than one in 10 (11%) of youngsters spends more than their mother or father, the research showed.

The study – of 1,420 parents with children aged under 16 – also revealed that parents were likely to spend more money on their first-born’s phone and bills than on those of any younger siblings.

We blogged about the fab company 1stFone last week, and I really believe this is the way to go. You can keep in close contact with your little ones, but safely and sensibly with the personalised 1stFone.

What do you think?