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The use of a camera phone among the young population has now become commonplace, but as thousands complain that using them to record the Pope’s final death march was disrespectful, is it fair to say that the camera phone is becoming too intrusive?

Rather than perceived as invasive, mobileYouth can report that among UK youth the camera phone is now one of the most popular features available and increasingly considered as intrinsic to a mobile handset.

• Currently 4 million UK youth own a camera enabled handset, with this figure set to double to 8 million by 2007, leaving just 46% of youth without a camera enabled handset.

• Children as young as 5 are also receiving camera enabled phones from their parents, with ownership rates among the ages of 5-9 presently at 15 thousand and set to increase further to 19 thousand by 2007.

• The popularity of the camera phone is particularly high among UK young adults (15-24) with 3.5 million currently in possession and the figure set to mote than double by 2007 to over 7 million.

Despite high ownership rates the young are currently still far more likely to simply share pictures than to send them via MMS.

• Teenagers on average capture 8 pictures per week, although sending rates are a lot lower.

However, the camera phone’s simplicity looks set to drive the popularity of services such as MMS and ‘photo flirting’.

With ‘Photo flirting’ becoming a new trend among young adults, many are concerned that this has allowed teenagers to become intimate quicker, whilst retaining the illusion of being safe and discreet. Also, as in the recent case of Charlotte Church where handsets around the UK were ‘lucky’ enough to receive topless photos of her, there’s always the possibility that these portable pictures will get into the wrong hands.

With the ‘always to hand’ nature of camera phones and usage patterns among the young set to evolve further, they look set to become a sign of the times.

Amy Davies
Press Office

Wireless World Fourum
www.w2forum.com / www.mobileYouth.org
+44 (0) 207 386 3635.

Published on: 12:00AM on 12th April 2005