Parents Can Rule, Kids Can Be Cruel, New Mobile Phone Study Reveals

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Parents Can Rule, Kids Can Be Cruel, New Mobile Phone Study Reveals

AT&T Commissioned Poll on Families’ Mobile Behavior Sheds Light on Rules-Setting and Bullying; AT&T Offers Modern Tools to Help Manage
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Nearly 1/5 of 8- to 11-yr-olds have received a bullying text, according to new @att survey. Visit for safety resources.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 1:15pm


CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) Dallas, TX - June 12, 2012 - The AT&T Mobile Safety study of 1,000 parents and 500 children by GfK shows that there’s an opportunity for parents and kids to have more discussions about the sometimes contentious topic of mobile phones. Surprisingly, 90 percent of the kids, ages 8-17, agree it’s okay for their parents to set rules for their use of such devices; conversely, far fewer (66 percent) say their parents have actually set such rules.

AT&T* commissioned the study to better understand the most prevalent wireless safety issues for families. Survey results show that 39 percent of children ages 12-14 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone – a figure that jumps to 53 percent among children ages 15-17. Additionally, nearly one in five 8- to 11-year-olds surveyed have received a mean or bullying text message. Yet, kids say that discussing mobile safety is low on the list of talks parents have with their kids.

“The AT&T Mobile Safety study sheds new light on very serious issues that can arise for children who are using mobile devices,” said National PTA® President Betsy Landers. “Today’s parent should be aware of today’s technology and how it can affect their children. Being an engaged parent includes having a conversation about wireless safety with their children as they grow up.”

While the study results bring up a variety of concerns, there are ways parents can manage how a mobile phone is used. AT&T offers tools that can block what content may be accessed, times of day phones can be used and ways to block texts and calls from bullies. Additionally, AT&T FamilyMap can help parents locate their children and it will send alerts at predetermined times with the child’s location, such as when they should have arrived at home or school. Full survey results, information about AT&T’s menu of parental controls and a library of resources on mobile safety topics can be found on The Mobile Safety website.

According to The AT&T Mobile Safety study:

  • The average age a child is given their first phone is 12.1; the average age for a child’s first smartphone is 13.8, among those with a phone.

  • 48 percent of children ages 12-14 have ridden in a vehicle with someone who was texting while driving. Among those ages 15-17, the percentage of teens who have ridden with a driver who was texting increases to 64 percent.

  • One in four teens ages 15-17 have received mean or bullying text messages (compared to nearly one in five reported by both 8- to 11- and 12- to 14-year-olds).

  • More than half of teens ages 15-17 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone (compared to 39 percent among those aged 12-14).

  • 58 percent of parents say that their mobile phone provider offers tools or resources for parents to address issues like overages, safety, security and monitoring. One in seven is not sure whether they have access to these services.  


“Mobile devices are becoming parents’ and kids’ preferred way to communicate on-the-go,” said Janiece Evans-Page, assistant vice president - community engagement, AT&T. “The Mobile Safety website is our way of helping families – providing them with educational resources and raising awareness about products to help manage safety issues.” 

“The fact is, there are a variety of free to low-cost tools that can give parents peace of mind, and we want 100 percent of the parents out there to know their options – not just 58 percent of them.”

Research published in the AT&T Mobile Safety study was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs, and involved a nationally-representative dual-frame random digit dial (RDD) sample consisting of both landline and cell phone telephone interviews with:

  • 1,000 adults who have a mobile phone and children between the ages of 8-17 who also have a mobile phone

  • 500 children between the ages of 8-17 who have a mobile phone (55 interviews were conducted among children ages 8-11; 186 among ages 12-14; and 259 among ages 15-17)

The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points among the full parents sample and plus or minus 4.6 percentage points among the full children sample. The margin of sampling error will be higher for subgroups.

For more information, visit

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. 

 About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at and as part of an RSS feed at Or, follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.

© 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest market research companies, with more than 11,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 countries, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers.


Chelsea Watts
+1 (314) 982-7705
Keywords: Innovation & Technology | Innovation & Technology | Social Impact & Volunteering


CONTENT: Press Release