Call for ideas to help teens with mobile costs

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Teenagers and parents are being challenged to come up with ideas to help young people manage what they spend when they use digital content and services on their smartphones.

PhoneBrain, the nationwide, award-winning, competition and education programme, is asking young people and their parents to come up with an idea for a simple digital tool – an app, a game or a video, for example – to help young people manage their costs on 
mobiles, smartphones and tablets.

The winner of the PhoneBrain challenge will be announced on Safer Internet Day on February 11 next year.

As well as getting a cash prize, the winner’s idea could become a reality to be distributed nationwide.

This year there have been a spate of stories in the press about children running up high bills playing with apps on smartphones and tablets.

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of phone-paid services and the organisation behind PhoneBrain, aims to arm parents and their children with the knowledge they need to avoid expensive costs and unwanted, unexpected bills.

Paul Whiteing, chief executive of PhonepayPlus, said: “Since PhonepayPlus first drew public attention to the potential problem of children and the cost of digital content such as apps in January with the publication of our report, Children as Connected Consumers, we have welcomed discussion and ideas to help deal with the issue.

“As well as taking prompt and effective enforcement action to deal with problems such as misleading digital marketing, we have also engaged industry and consumer stakeholders in discussion about what we can each do to help.

“We are now turning to young people and their families and challenging them to come up with a simple idea to help young people and children engage positively 
with digital content while avoiding unnecessarily high bills.

“At PhonepayPlus we have created our own character to explain phone and app costs to younger children – we hope Tommy Tap Tap will inspire more ideas from young people and their parents for young and older children to help them enjoy digital content without the shock of a big bill at the end.”