Kids splashing out on games, music and film downloads against parents’ wishes

21st September 2015


Half of UK parents have banned their children from spending money on digital downloads, despite 84% of kids admitting to doing so, according to new analysis from Halifax.

The lender’s annual pocket money survey highlighted just how concerned parents are when it comes to their children’s access to downloadable online content.

A third, at 32%, admitted they are unwilling to allow their children to download items because they are worried about them accessing inappropriate content and the same amount said this is because they are worried about them overspending.

A further third said they downloaded content on behalf of their children in order to stop them from doing so themselves.

For those parents who do allow children to download games, films, TV programmes or apps, almost two thirds, at 62%, set a limit on how much they will let their kids to spend, allowing them to fork out between £4 to £10 per week, on average.

Most children have direct access to the internet and the ability to download content online, whether or not they have their parents’ permission to do so.

In fact, the study shows that some 60% have a tablet computer and three quarters, at 72%, have a mobile phone, 86% of which are smart phones.

The average phone bill is £12.50, and 12% of children said that they are expected to pay for this with their pocket money.

While the age of the child seems to have quite a bearing on whether or not they have a mobile phone, with only 16% of eight years olds having one compared to 96% of 15 year olds, it makes little difference when it comes to whether or not they download certain types of content online. In fact, more eight year olds download games than 15 year olds, at 62% versus 56%.

On average, children admit to downloading three items per week. Games are the most popular item, with 60% of children admitting they download these items. Some 58% said they downloaded apps, 50% they spend the money on music, while TV programmes and films were highlighted by 19% and 20% respectively.

Giles Martin, head of Halifax savings said: “It is clear that 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, when 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 that 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 that the majority of children save at least some of their pocket money, but it is also clear from the latest figures, that 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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