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Youngsters are now equipped with handsets while at primary school - six years earlier than a decade ago.
The majority of parents (74%) claim they give children mobiles for safety reasons and "peace of mind" while most (61%) say they set up "pay monthly" contracts rather than opting for a "pay as you go" package, the survey revealed.
It also found around 22% of parents bought their children phones simply because their classmates owned handsets.
The study, by comparison site MobilePhoneChecker.co.uk, found most youngsters are now likely to be just seven-and-a-half when they are given their first phone. In 1993, the average age was 13.2 years.
Adam Cable, director of MobilePhoneChecker.co.uk, said: "Despite the argument that parents want to keep their children safe at all times, many may think that seven years old is far too young to own a mobile phone.
"However, I have seen four-year-olds who can work their parent's iPhone or iPad perfectly well.
"The protection of children is obviously a key factor in their usage of mobile phones, but as long as the proper precautions are taken to ensure maximum safety of children using handsets, then they absolutely have their benefits."