Parents urged to teach children cost of using smartphones

Nearly one in five eight-year-olds has their own smartphone, research suggests.

A survey of children aged eight to 15 years old found two-thirds (67%) have their own smartphone, rising from 19% of eight-year-olds to 95% of children aged 15.

Some 82% of parents surveyed said they foot the bill for their child's phone, rather than their offspring having to pay out of their own money, according to the findings from the Halifax Pocket Money Survey.

Two-fifths (40%) of children claim they are allowed to download as many apps as they like.

Mothers are more likely to put a stop their children's downloading habits than fathers, the research found.

If children really want something, nearly half (45%) said they would ask for it as a birthday or Christmas present, while a fifth (19%) would use pester power until their parents gave in.

A third (28%) would save their pocket money until they could afford it.

Giles Martin, head of savings at Halifax, said: "With more and more games, apps and music offered on smartphones, digital downloads are naturally becoming increasingly popular for kids to spend pocket money on.

"Although each download may seem fairly cheap, the costs can add up over the course of the year and their lack of 'physical' presence can make spending less visible.

"Parents could use this opportunity to spell out to their children how small amounts add up."

More than 1,200 children and over 600 parents of children aged up to 15 years old took part in the survey.

Here are some tips for parents from Halifax to encourage children to save:

  • Make saving fun, use a piggy bank or a jar so they can see their savings add up.
  • Set a good example, make sure you save up yourself and do it in a visible way.
  • Offer rewards for saving money, match their contributions or provide a small reward or treat if they do not spend their savings.

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