The 411 on back-to-school

President's Choice Services survey explores the subject of kids & mobile phones - when should your child have one?

TORONTO, Aug. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - As every school-age child can tell you, reading, writing and arithmetic equals books, backpacks and school supplies. What about mobile devices though? Nearly half of Canadian parents (48 per cent) with children aged 11 and older now say their kids carry a personal cell phone, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by Leger Marketing for President's Choice Services Inc., asked adult respondents what they thought the best age to give children their own phone was. The majority of Canadians (52 per cent) felt somewhere between the ages of 13 to 16 was appropriate, compared to the 31 per cent of Canadians who felt that teens age 17 or older could better handle the responsibility of a cell phone. Approximately 10 per cent cited 9 to 12 as the right age bracket, while only one per cent felt children aged 6 to 8 should have their own mobile device.

"It's clear that Canadian parents are arming their kids with the tools to stay connected," said noted author and parenting expert Kathy Buckworth, Chief Family Advisor for PC Financial®. "The age at which they choose to do so will vary for each family, but there are still steps every parent can take to encourage the safe and responsible use of mobile devices - including leading by example."

With reports of increased injuries and accidents due to distracted talking and texting on the rise, it's important for Canadians to teach their children about the value of mobile safety and security, said Buckworth. She pointed to the fact that 26 per cent of poll respondents acknowledged they currently don't take any steps on this front.

Among the measures currently taken by poll respondents:

  • 33 per cent said they set ground rules, such as no talking while driving or walking;
  • 32 per cent limit use to where it's appropriate;
  • 27 per cent use password protection;
  • 18 per cent program emergency contacts into phones and discuss when and how to use them;
  • 12 per cent try to conceal their phones in public;
  • 9 per cent set parental controls on devices; and
  • 8 per cent use GPS to track the whereabouts of family members.

Mobile Manners

When it comes to mobile etiquette, meanwhile, Canadians don't always practice what they preach. In fact, there is a striking gap between the habits that annoy us most and those we acknowledge we've engaged in ourselves.

Some examples include:

  • While 86 per cent of Canadians say they are irritated by others typing, texting or calling while driving, nearly a third (31 per cent) admitted having done so themselves in the last year;
  • While 77 per cent complained about others not turning off their ringers in public spaces such as theatres or restaurants, approximately 14 per cent acknowledged doing just that; and
  • While 57 per cent complained about others texting or talking and not paying attention to their surroundings while walking, 32 per cent admitted to engaging in precisely this behaviour.

What does it all mean? "These results show us that for a great number of Canadian parents, it's a matter of do as I say and not as I do," added Buckworth.

Maximizing Your Mobile Device

Meanwhile, the survey also found that Canadian families may not be using all the features available on their phones. Respondents reported that they use their mobile devices primarily for the following activities:

  • Talking: 92 per cent
  • Texting: 69 per cent
  • Storing contacts: 54 per cent
  • Email: 43 per cent
  • Checking the weather: 39 per cent
  • Surfing the Internet: 36 per cent

"These numbers suggest that Canadians still aren't using their mobile devices to their full potential," said Maria Forlini, senior vice president of President's Choice Services. "We want to help families get the most out of their mobile experience by helping them to choose the right phone and plan that best suits their needs."

Added Forlini, "That's why we offer customers the convenience of picking up a mobile device in our stores.  Canadians can choose a pre-paid device from PC mobile or a variety of other carriers at one of our in-store Prepaid Cell Phones Express displays or visit The Mobile Shop, located in select Loblaw stores, to get objective advice on the latest and greatest mobile devices available today."

About the survey
The President's Choice Services Inc. survey was completed using Leger Marketing's online panel, Leger Web, with a representative sample of 1,500 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About The Mobile Shop
The Mobile Shop, located in select Loblaw and banner store locations, is the destination for Canadians' wireless needs - through the delivery of exceptional customer service & support, great selection, and outstanding value.

About Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L)
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 135,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

SOURCE: President's Choice Services Inc.

For further information:

or to schedule an interview: 

Michelle Reidel
President's Choice Services Inc.
647.278.1598
michelle.reidel@pcbank.ca

Irene Poon,
Argyle Communications
416.968.7311 Ex. 246
ipoon@argylecommunications.com