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1 in 10 young people admit accidentally making in-app purchases

Wednesday, July 15th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

One in 10 young people have faced a higher-than-expected mobile phone bill after accidentally making in-app purchases.

A survey by e-safety charity Childnet found that 12% had spent money accidentally in this way.

The results of the survey reveal that 95% of 11 to 18-year-olds have downloaded an app, with 59% paying for an app and just over a third (37%) spending money on an in-app purchase.

Of those who spent money on in-app purchases by accident, the majority said this resulted in them receiving a big phone bill, often known as 'bill shock'.

One of the reasons given by young people for being caught out was a lack of understanding that in-app purchases used ‘real money’.

Others said they had clicked on the purchase accidentally and some didn’t realise the payment would go through automatically with stored passwords.

Cable.co.uk reported last week how Childnet had teamed up with PhonepayPlus, the UK’s regulator for premium rate phone services, to add a ‘PhoneBrain’ category to its annual short film competition.

PhoneBrain was launched by PhonepayPlus to educate children and young people about premium rate services and charges that can be made to phone bills.

The Childnet report, published today, provides recommendations to companies who create apps and educational tips for parents and young people.

This advice, along with the films created by young people as part of the Childnet Film Competition, is aimed at helping educate young people about the risks they can face when using apps.

Children and families minister Edward Timpson said: “The internet is a tremendously powerful tool that is changing the way our children learn and stay in touch but we cannot afford to be complacent about the risks – the dangers of the virtual world are no less pressing than those in the real world.

“But it isn’t just a problem for parents, schools have a role to play too which is why we have put online safety at the heart of the curriculum to ensure children are given the information and tools they need to protect themselves online.

“And it’s through initiatives like the Childnet Film Competition that we can make sure children really harness all the opportunities that the internet provides while at the same time giving them the information and tools they need to protect themselves online.”

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