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PhoneBrain competition 2015

20 July 2015, David Owen, Senior Communications Executive
PhoneBrain 2015 competition with Childnet

Last week saw the announcement of the winners of PhonepayPlus' 2015 PhoneBrain film competition at a private screening held at the BFI Southbank.  
PhoneBrain category winners Willow Bank School and the other competition finalists will now see their films used as resources to educate other young people about how to use their smartphones safely and confidently without unexpectedly running up high bills.   

Read on for the results of our survey of children’s experiences of apps and more advice from PhoneBrain.

About PhoneBrain
PhoneBrain is PhonepayPlus’ education programme that helps young people use their smartphones confidently and safely. PhoneBrain educates young people about premium rate services, what they are and the costs involved by providing free learning resources available on an interactive website and through its annual competition.

Film Competition
This year PhonepayPlus partnered with the internet safety charity Childnet in sponsoring the PhoneBrain category of their annual film competition. The PhoneBrain category engaged young people about what to be aware of with apps and in-app purchases and how to avoid unknowingly incurring high bills. All the teams interested in the competition received resource packs including links to the PhoneBrain website, story board templates, guidance on how to produce their films and what content to potentially include.

The film competition engaged young people from schools and youth organisations across the UK. The PhoneBrain category film, produced as one of the resources, is attracting a growing number of views on social media – 1,500 and counting.

The winning films from the competition can be viewed here. On our YouTube channel you can also watch other entries to the 2015 PhoneBrain competition. You can also view photos from the day of the award ceremony. Please share these films so that their important messages can reach even more young people.

Young people’s experiences of apps
As part of this year’s competition Childnet ran an online survey of young people’s experiences with apps. The survey was completed by 1,058 young people and a summary of the results can be found here.

The summary includes a number of key messages for young people and parents/carers that come from the findings of the survey and align with the aims of PhoneBrain.

Advice for young people:

  • When you download an app, check carefully whether it costs anything, or if it includes in-app purchases.
  • Check what you are clicking on; things like upgrades, gems or special offers, can cost real money.
  • Be careful of continuing to click on a purchase if the app has frozen – you could be charged.
  • Speak to your parent/carers, or whoever pays your bill, and agree limits on spending. Remember you can always turn to them for advice or if you have made an accidental purchase.
  • Keep on top of your spending by checking your bill regularly. It can be helpful to cap your bill and/or use device settings to prevent in-app purchases.

Advice for parents and carers:

  • Talk to your children about in-app purchases and other costs that can be incurred when using a device; share the tips above and encourage them to ‘think before you click’. 
  • It can be helpful to agree spending limits and make sure they know they can turn to you for advice or if they accidentally make a purchase.
  • Use the tools: parental controls can help you manage in-app purchases.
  • Stay engaged: It may be helpful to be involved when your child downloads an app, so you can review whether it is paid-for or if it has in-app purchases. Keep an eye on the bill so you know what is being paid for.

Further information and resources for children, parents/carers and teachers on premium rates services and smartphones can be found on the PhoneBrain website

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