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Kids spend money on apps against parents’ wishes

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Half of UK parents say they do not allow their children to spend money on digital downloads, despite 84% of kids admitting to doing so, according to research.

The 2015 annual Halifax Pocket Money Survey found widespread concern among parents when it comes to their children’s access to downloadable online content.

One in three (32%) said they are unwilling to allow their children to download items because they are worried about them accessing inappropriate content and a further third (31%) said they are worried about them overspending. A third (31%) admitted to downloading content on behalf of their children to stop them from doing so themselves.

For parents who allow children to download games, films, TV programmes or apps, 62% set spending limits, allowing their children to spend between £4-£10 per week on average.

The findings show the majority of children have direct access to the internet and the ability to download content online, whether or not they have permission to do so; 60% have a tablet computer and 72% a mobile phone (86% of which are smartphones). The average phone bill is £12.50, with 12% of children saying they are expected to pay for this with their pocket money.

A child’s age seems to have a bearing on whether or not they have a mobile phone, as 16% of eight years olds have one compared to 96% of 15 year olds. However, this makes little difference to whether or not children download certain types of content online. More eight year olds download games than 15 year olds (62% versus 56%).

On average, children admit to downloading three items per week. Games are the most popular item to download, with 60% of children downloading them, followed by apps (58%), music (50%) and TV programmes (19%).

Giles Martin, head of Halifax Savings said: “While today’s kids are super savvy when it comes to all things digital, parents still have concerns about their spending online. This is perhaps no surprise, considering the multitude of shops and downloads available at the touch of a button.

“Budgeting money is a great responsibility and parents need to make sure by awarding pocket money they are also giving their children the tools to understand the importance of managing how that is spent. Our research shows the majority of children save at least some of their pocket money, but it is also clear from the latest figures many are also spending online. What is not clear, is whether the bank of Mum and Dad is footing the bill.”

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