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Get kids smartphone and tablet savvy and avoid high bills in the New Year

25 December 2013

Parents are estimated to have spent £3 billion on tech gadgets this Christmas and with a quarter of under 16s expected to open a tablet on Christmas Day, PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of phone-paid services is advising parents to stay on top of digital and mobile costs.

  • Parents estimated to have spent £3 billion on tech this Christmas
  • £147 the average bill when a complaint to PhonepayPlus involves a child - more than the price of a Kindle Fire HD or a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
  • 95% of complaints to regulator PhonepayPlus that involve children are about unexpectedly high bills

PhonepayPlus urges parents to make sure that they talk to their children about the costs involved with connected and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones and has advice for them this Christmas:

  • Know your numbers – some numbers, like those starting with 118, 09 or 0871, can cost more
  • Look for the price – it might be in the small print
  • Don't ignore your phone bill or phone credit – check how much your phone costs
  • Look up numbers you don’t recognise – use the Number Checker on www.phonepayplus.org.uk
  • Find out how you can leave a service – with text services text back STOP
  • Don’t type your phone number into websites – unless you’re sure what it's going to be used for
  • Watch what you click on – when browsing on you phone some clicks can cost you money 
  • Check with the bill payer – ask the bill payer before doing anything, especially before downloading apps, buying something online or calling or texting numbers
  • Don't rush when downloading apps – some apps can cost you, find out what the permissions are for the app
  • Do seek advice or help if you need to – visit www.phonebrain.org.uk or contact PhonepayPlus

The good news for parents is that, as part of its award-winning PhoneBrain youth education campaign, PhonepayPlus has developed a quick and easy, mobile-friendly quiz that tests how much kids know about phone costs and gives answers as it goes.

Patrick Guthrie, Director of Strategy and Communications at PhonepayPlus said:

“Children and teenagers unwrapping their new phone or their first tablet are excited about the new experiences and knowledge they can open up. But young people can be unaware of the costs of accessing some digital content on smartphones and tablets, leaving parents to foot the bill. This advice will help parents have a conversation with their children about their new devices and our online quiz is a simple and engaging way to get kids thinking about how much their phone could cost.”