Kids eh, Always racking up huge bills at the sake of the reckless parents who have given them a mobile phone and essentially an open budget to let rip.
When I was younger I was given (by a friend I might add) a pay as you go phone, I was allowed to spend as much as I had on it so said my parents who would not ‘top it up’ for me.
After several times where I ended up downloading stupid amounts of ringtones and then spending the week ahead with no money to have fun or to phone my mates. I wish I had something like this…
Premium rate mobile phone service operators are targeting schoolchildren with ringtones and games that the kids subscribe to without having any idea of the cost, shocking figures show. A third of 11 to 17-year-olds who subscribe to premium rate services on their mobiles have no idea what they cost, according to new research from phone paid services watchdog PhonepayPlus. It hopes that its PhoneBrain initiative, which takes place in schools and teaches children how to use mobile phone services safely, will help to prevent kids spending more than they can afford.
Mobile phones are now a playground must-have, especially for secondary school children, who often spend a large proportion of their pocket money on calls, texts and other mobile services. A third of parents who give their kids an allowance from which they must cover their mobile phone costs say their child spends at least 50% of their pocket money on phone bills or pay-as-you-go credit. It is not just calls and texts that today’s young mobile phone users spend money on, though. Nearly two in five 11 to 17-year-olds have downloaded some form of video or music content to their mobiles in the last six months alone – even though many of them have no idea how much the service costs.
The price of mobile phone extras such as ringtones, games and the wallpaper background that appears when phones are not being used varies hugely. Downloading a picture of a snowboarder as wallpaper through ringtonesuk, for example, involves receiving three text messages at a cost of £1.50 each or spending about three minutes calling a premium-rate number that costs £1.50 a minute. Meanwhile, downloading Lady Gaga’s hit song Bad Romance as your ringtone with MobileFun costs £4.50.
These amounts may seem fairly insignificant, but they are large enough to make a sizable dent in the average youngster’s pocket money.Enthusiasts who want all the latest ringtones and music or video downloads could also end up with large bills they are unable to pay, especially if they have a contract under which the call and text charges can build up unnoticed, but must be paid each month. A number of mobile phone service providers also offer weekly or monthly plans, such as Jamster’s weekly music package that offers six full tracks – not to be confused with ringtones – for £4.50.
Youngsters can therefore end up out of pocket if they do not realise that they have signed up to an ongoing plan, rather than a one-off download. And even if they do ask for help, parents may end up as confused as their children as few of them understand the mobile content their kids are downloading.
Only around a third of the parents surveyed by PhonepayPlus said they understand how mobile content services work, meaning there is a big knowledge gap when it comes to how children’s pocket money is being spent.PhonepayPlus is therefore hoping that PhoneBrain, which aims to educate pupils about download charges in a fun and interactive way, will help to bridge this gap and prevent children losing out, or spending more than they can afford on mobile download services. PhonepayPlus chief executive Paul Whiteing said: “Young people enjoy buying the latest content for their mobile, but some fall foul of confusing pricing or unclear subscription charges. PhoneBrain aims to give students the confidence to enjoy these services, knowing they’ll get what they wanted at the price they expected to pay.”