Cell phone companies are now targeting their marketing efforts at 9-12 year olds

Wednesday, March 9th 2005, 10:00 am
By: News On 6

Kids grow up fast, but did you know they are the fastest growing segment of cell phone users? It was probably just a matter of time. Just about all parents have them. So why not their children?

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says cell phone companies are running out of adults to sell to. So they are turning their attention to the kid market.

12-year-old Warren Nelson is still in the minority right now, as a kid with a cell phone. His mom, Kim says she got it for a couple of reasons. "We got a really great deal on it for one."

Companies are offering lots of family plans these days. But the big selling point for Kim is peace of mind. "He's starting. He's at the age where he's starting to do things independently of us, and I wanted to be able to reach him and for him to reach me if he needed to."

Of course Warren just kind of likes getting a cell phone. "Yes I have, a lot."

Steve Berg: "do a lot of your friends have cell phones." Warren: "No, not yet."

But not for long. In the year 2000, less than 10 percent of the 9 to 12-year-old age range had a cellphone. In just 3 years, that number jumped to 33 percent. And by the end of this year, it's estimated that more than half of kids will have cell phones.

Kim's not surprised and expects lots of parents will catch on. "And know that they're safe, they know where we are, and they are and all of that, so I think it's right on track."

Kim had better be ready though. Warren: “If I'm doing activities and my mom's late or my dad, I just call 'em and get 'em there."

Most schools don't let kids have phones in the classroom, but they often let kids keep them turned off in backpacks and lockers, so they have them when they walk home.

And an added note, Warren has a younger sister and Steve Berg asked him if he hated sharing the cell phone. And he said no, she has one too.