NGO report: About 83% of Israeli children aged 8-15 have a smartphone

State of the Child report finds that children are spending more times in front of screens.

A girl takes photos on a smartphone (photo credit: REUTERS)
A girl takes photos on a smartphone
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Some 83 percent of Israelis aged eight to 15 have a smartphone, with the youngest receiving a phone at the age of six, according to the State of the Child report presented to President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday by the National Council for the Child.
As of 2014, some 90% of youth aged 13 to 18 use the WhatsApp cross-platform instant messaging application for smartphones.
And nearly 50%, both boys and girls, reported they receive more than 100 messages a day, the report stated.
A fourth of children use their smartphones for more than five hours a day, while, 65% of girls and 70% of boys use them up to four hours a day.
In addition, nearly half of youth said they check social media within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. An additional 27% said they do this within an hour of waking up.
The findings further indicated that 46% of youth ages 12 to 17 surf the Web at least four hours a day – while only 16% believed this was excessive.
The annual report composed of statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics, government ministries and nonprofit organizations presented a picture of the state of the child in Israel across a number of realms including, education, technology, health, poverty, abuse and criminal activity.
At the end of 2014 there were 2,739,500 children, accounting for 33% of the population, living in Israel, the report said.
This figure has more than doubled since 1970, when there were some 1,183,000 children in the country.
Despite the rise in total numbers, the past few decades have seen a decline in the proportion of children within the population, which stood at 39.2% in 1970. This decline has been felt across all religious groups, including among Muslims – 58.7% in 1970 and 43.7% in 2014.
In 2014, 70.8% of all children in Israel were Jews, compared to 75% in 1995; while last year 23.1% were Muslim, an increase from 20.2% in 1995. Furthermore 1.5% were Christians in 2014, compared to 2.7% in 1995, and 1.7% were Druse last year, compared to 2.2% in 1995.
The findings further indicated that in 2014 there were 176,427 births; 77.1% of them were Jews.
The average Israeli family had 2.4 in 2014.
Jerusalem was the city with the most children (336,800), followed by Tel Aviv with 87,410, then Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Petah Tikva and Haifa.
At the end of 2014, there were 242,000 children who were considered new immigrants (in the country for less than five years), accounting for 8.8% of the child population.
In 2014, 5,895 children made aliya – a 29.5% increase from 2013.
In the 2014/15 academic year, 2,228,266 children were enrolled in the education system. Of them, 1,683,398 (75.5%) were in the Jewish sector and 544,868 (24.5%) in the Arab sector.
In 2013/14, the share of high school students taking matriculation exams and receiving matriculation certificates decreased from the previous year – from 74.6% in 2012/13 to 72.1% in 2013/14, and from 53.4% in 2012/13 to 52.7% in 2013/14, respectively.
Some 58.7% of students in the Jewish sector were eligible for a matriculation certificate in 2013-14, as were 47.8% in the Arab sector, 61.8% in the Druse sector and 30.3% among the Beduin in the Negev.
The report also found that in 2014, 884 children were hurt in car accidents, of whom 22 died.
More children were hurt in car accidents in August, part of the summer vacation when most summer camps are closed, than in the rest of the year.
Some 31% of children were living under the poverty line – a figure that has quadrupled since 1980. Of these children, 21.6% were Jews and 63.5% are Arabs.