News Copy – By Emma Elsworthy

Children are allowed to walk to school unattended, get a mobile phone – and play 12+ rated games like Fortnite by the age of 11, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 parents of children under 18 has revealed the ages at which parents allow their son or daughter to do different things with many watching films and playing games deemed ‘too old’ for them.

Parents are careful to ensure their children don’t walk to school alone until 11, go into town unattended until 12 and don’t date until 14.

But when it comes to exploring the digital world, children are allowed to use social media at 13, play 12+ rated games at 11 and watch 18+ films at 14.

Children will also be given permission to watch reality TV shows such as Love Island at 13 and play an 18-rated game like Call of Duty by the time they are 14.

The study was conducted by O2 Family, and Nina Bibby, CMO of O2, said: “As a parent myself I know that managing family life in today’s ever changing digital world can be complicated.

“It’s often difficult to agree on what we think is best for our children, and every family is unique, which is why we want to help to encourage parents to embrace these conversations and know they are not alone in facing these challenges.”

The study also revealed some families will turn off the parental locks on the internet when the child reaches 13, and kids will be allowed to take their electronic devices to bed with them at 12.

Kids of today are also wearing high heels at 13, make-up at 12, and choosing their own wardrobes by the tender age of 10.

But these age decisions aren’t made lightly, with more than nine in 10 parents admitting to having argued about when to allow their children to reach certain milestones.

The biggest argument for a third of respondents is usually over when it’s appropriate for a child to have a boyfriend or girlfriend stay overnight.

The same amount disagree on what time children should go to bed, and a quarter question whether kids should even have a boyfriend or girlfriend at all.

A further one in five parents debate whether their young should be allowed a social media profile.

The research also revealed parents are unsure of where to get advice on these types of issues with six in 10 often asking other parents what they think.

This is despite more than half agreeing they’re ‘quick’ to judge someone’s parenting skills.

Meanwhile, one in four parents believe their children still do certain activities later than their friends.

But parents struggle to agree if their children are growing up too fast with 77 per cent of mums believing they grow up too quickly, compared to 65 per cent of dads.

Nina Bibby added: “With O2 Family we are offering a range of tools, services and expertise, enabling parents to take control over the part that technology plays in their households, helping them make the most of their family time together.”

To find out more about the new O2 Family offering, visit:


By the age of 11:

Walk to school alone
Ride as a passenger in the front seat of the car
Get a mobile phone
Play a 12-rated computer game, such as Fortnite

At 12:

Stay up past 10pm
Listen to explicit song lyrics
Have access to WiFi both day and night
Take a trip to the shops alone

Age 13:

Full access to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram
Watch reality TV, such as Love Island
Have access to TV streaming services
Stay at home alone
Have a girlfriend or boyfriend
Use the family credit card
Have their own house keys
Watch a 15-rated film
Turn parental locks off of the TV, internet etc

By 14:

Get a part-time job
Watch an 18-rated film
Play an 18-rated computer game, like Call of Duty

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