Nine out of ten children of secondary school age now own a mobile phone, according to a new survey.
Some 91 per cent of 12 year-olds have a mobile phone, claims a report commissioned by mobile phone provider Carphone Warehouse.
The Mobile Life Youth Report, which examines the social impact mobile phones have had on the lives of young people and was completed in conjunction with the London School of Economics, finds that mobile phone ownership is also prolific amongst younger children.
The report claims that 51 per cent of ten-year-olds now own a mobile.
A poll of 1,250 young people aged between 11 and 17, conducted as part of the report, reveals that teenagers send or receive around three times more text messages than adults, typically around 9.6 texts a day, compared to the 3.6 texts sent or received by their parents.
Youngsters also make or receive more mobile calls than adults, the YouGov survey found, making or receiving some 3.5 calls a day in comparison to 2.8 calls for older people.
The majority of teenagers questioned referred to the social importance they attached to their mobile phone, with 78 per cent claiming that their mobile gave them a better social life by allowing them to maintain contact with their friends more easily.
Girls are most likely to "feel unwanted" if their mobile fails to ring, with 42 per cent stressing that they felt that way if they did not receive at least one call on their mobile everyday, compared to 26 per cent of all 11 to 17-year-olds.
The survey also revealed a reluctance on the part of young people to share their mobile phone activity with their parents, with one in three stressing that they talked or texted regularly with people they did not want their parents to know about, while two thirds said they would not allow their parents to look through their text messages.
Commenting, Carphone Warehouse chief executive Charles Dunstone said: "The mobile phone has become the most important electronic device for young people in the UK today with 91per cent of children having a mobile phone by the time they go to secondary school at 12 years old."
"It provides them with a social network, a sense of security and access to entertainment. But most importantly it provides them with a sense of belonging to their peer group,” he added.
However, the company's report reveals that society is slightly more divided about the desirability of children owning a mobile phone.
Just a third of adults said they thought it was appropriate for a child to have a mobile phone by the time they reached 11, although parents were slightly more approving, with 54 per cent claiming that they thought it was ok.