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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 09, 2013

Inadvertent app purchases costing British parents $47m a year

Brits download an average of 29 apps for their smartphone, but pay for very few. However, parents are finding their free apps can become very expensive when younger members of the family get hold of their mobile devices.

by Helen Leggatt

Recent research from uSwitch found that Brits pay for only one in ten of mobile apps they acquire for their smartphone. However, 60% use just half of the apps they download while a third use less than a quarter.

Often, apps are downloaded purely out of curiosity and left unused; others become resigned to a phone's "app graveyard" due to intrusive advertising or limited functionality as a 'free' user.

While adults aren't paying for many of the apps they use, new research from Microsoft Windows Phone found that children are - albeit inadvertently. Mobile app and in-app purchases made without permission by children on a parent's smartphone or tablet are adding $47 million a year to parents' bills.

The survey of over 2,000 UK parents using a tablet or smartphone showed that just over a quarter (28%) have had an unexpectedly high bill due to their children's app or in-app spending. Significantly more, 83%, had received an increased monthly smartphone or tablet bill.

However, the study found that parents could do more to safeguard their mobile devices. Nearly one in five parents in the study gave their children their passwords, a quarter of parents did not have a security password, and one in 10 gave their children no boundaries as to what they could access.

On average, children cost their parents an addition $52.93 on the monthly bill, while eight-year-olds ran up the largest amounts adding an average $92.63.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: apps, children, mobile, parental consent, password tools, phone bill

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