More than half of children say they sleep with their mobile phone beside their bed, according to an annual survey of young people’s use of media in the UK.
The Childwise report found children getting mobiles at an earlier age, with most now having their own phone by the age of seven.
The average time spent on mobiles by seven to 16-year-olds is three hours and 20 minutes per day.
Researcher Simon Leggett says mobiles can “dominate children’s lives”.
When phones are always so close at hand, as a “private and personal technology”, Mr Leggett says it can be tough for parents to put limits on how children use them.
The survey, based on interviews with 2,200 children in the UK aged five to 16, shows the pivotal place of the mobile phone in young lives.
There are 57% who always have the phone beside their bed and 44% who feel “uncomfortable” if they are ever without a phone signal.
There are 42% who say they keep their phone on them at all times and never turn it off.
YouTube, a veteran by online standards, remains dominant, used by 61% of children every day, mostly on mobile phones. This is followed by Snapchat, Instagram and this year’s fast-riser, Tik Tok, with WhatsApp also among the most regularly used.
Showing the speed of change, Facebook is not even in the top 10 of favourites