Top tips for parents buying a mobile phone for their child
Mobile phones are likely to be on a lot of children’s wish lists this year, but after negotiating which handset to buy what else do parents need to be thinking about?
A Phone is for Life, Not Just for Christmas
For more and more young people a mobile phone is top of their list for Christmas, and with the promise of being able to contact their children at anytime, parents are increasingly happy to buy them one. Currently half of five to nine year olds own a mobile, a percentage that climbs to three-quarters for the seven to 16 age group.
Thinking ahead is crucial to avoid a financial shock when the phone credit is used up too quickly or the phone bill arrives. That’s why this Christmas Supernanny.co.uk has teamed up with PhonepayPlus on their “A Phone is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” campaign to make parents more phone-aware.
What can you do to protect your child?
As a parent, you can’t be with your child all the time, but you can put a few simple measures in place and arm your children with the information they need to use their phones without worry.
Essential tips for parents buying a mobile phone for their child
- Think safe Make sure you contact the network provider and register the mobile phone as belonging to a child to ensure they can’t access any unsuitable internet sites from it. Many handsets are now internet-enabled – which means kids can surf the net while on the move, without your supervision.
- Be aware Talk to your children about how they’re using their phone. Kids love having the latest ringtones and games on their phone, but if they’re not phone-aware, it’s easy for them to sign up for a phone-paid service like this without realising that they might get charged on a regular rather than a one-off basis. This could mean you find yourself with an unexpectedly large bill or, if your child is on pay as you go, they could use up all of their credit without realising.
- Check the small print PhonepayPlus has seen that under 16s are more likely to sign up to a service accidently or not realise a number will cost them more than the standard rate. In 2008, people in the UK spent nearly £1 billion on phone-paid services – and whilst most of them are useful (for example calling directory enquiries or booking cinema tickets) and run fairly and legitimately, parents should encourage their children to read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure they understand them before signing up to a service.
- Know your rights If you or your child is receiving unwanted texts, especially from a service they aren’t familiar with, there are ways of making that service stop. All you need to do is reply with the word STOP and the service has to stop sending you messages. If this doesn’t happen, then you can contact PhonepayPlus for advice, and to make a complaint by calling 0800 500 212 or visiting www.phonepayplus.org.uk.
- Get the facts Parents and children can go to www.phonebrain.org.uk where they’ll find everything they need to know about using phone-paid services – from hints and tips to jargon-busting to help you understand the small print. The site is easy to understand and there are fun games and challenges to play, for example creating and downloading your own ringtone.
For more information about PhonepayPlus’ “A Phone is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” campaign please visit us here.
- For more information about PhonepayPlus’ “A Phone is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” campaign please visit us here.
- Find out everything you need to know about using phone-paid services, from jargon-busting to understanding the small print.
- Know your rights: great advice to help you get the best mobile phone deal for you and your child.