Children’s unauthorised in-app spending raises UK mobile bills by £30 million

New research reveals British parents are spending an additional £30 million on their smartphone and tablet bills through unauthorised in-app purchases made by their children.

Conducted by Windows Phone, the research surveyed over 2,000 UK parents using a tablet or smartphone. The data showed that just over a quarter (28 per cent) have experienced an unexpected bill due to their children’s app or in-app spending.

Eight out of ten, or 83 per cent of those surveyed, had received an increased monthly smartphone or tablet bill because of this.

“Our research reveals parents are worried about the impact of app and in-app purchases on their bills and we understand the stress this can cause,” said Brett Siddons, Head of Consumer Marketing for Windows Phone UK. “With technology becoming more and more intuitive, it’s important that parents can trust in the technology they use and feel as safe as possible when handing over their smartphone and tablet devices to their children.”

14 per cent of parents falling foul of their children’s mistaken purchases admitted they were worried about being able to pay for the bill increase, while 34 per cent said they took the bill shock as a reason to hide their smartphones and tablets from their offspring.

Eight-year-old children were shown to be the ones racking up the highest app costs, incurring an additional £59.59 cost to their parent’s bills. Over a third (36 per cent)of  children under four years of age had made accidental in-app or app purchases too, showing how easy it is to spend money in app stores.

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In an attempt to combat such accidental expenditure, the Windows Phone 8 mobile OS introduced the Kid’s Corner feature that allows children to play with smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 920 without parents fearing for their bank balance.

In Kid’s Corner, in-app purchases are automatically banned, but Windows Phone 8 allows parents to personalise their security settings too.

“We know from our customers that they want a simple and hassle-free way to share their smartphones with family members. The Kid’s Corner feature on the latest Windows Phones, as well as the ability to create separate accounts and sue the Family Safety Tool for Windows 8 PC and tablets users, provide parents with an easy-to-use solution for this.”

Get the most out of your handsets with our Windows Phone 8 tips and tricks.