Mobile phones and gadgets now more popular than sweets, UK kids say

by Michael Moore| 28 August 2014

British children now spending all their pocket money on tech, Halifax finds.

Britain's youngsters are becoming increasingly technology-savvy, choosing to spend nearly all of their pocket money on new gadgets and purchases rather than sweets or comics, a survey has found.

A study by high street bank Halifax found that three quarters (74%) of British eight to 15 years olds have a mobile phone, with nine out of 10 children (87%) owning a games console and two thirds (65%) owning an mp3 player.

These gadgets are proving a popular outlet for spending, it seems, as four out of five children surveyed (83%) said they have downloaded a film, music, TV show, game or app from the internet.

Additionally, an average of five paid-for tracks are being downloaded a week, at a potential cost of almost £5, while £10 a month, or £2.30 a week, is also spent on average on computer games.

The survey also found that a large number of children are running up bills on their smartphones, with parents unsurprisingly left to pick up the cost. 74% of children accrued bills of £12 or over per month, but only 13% said they paid their bills themselves.

Overall, British children received an average of £6.35 a week pocket money from their parents, but 40% of 8 to 15 year olds also admitted to receiving money from grandparents and other relatives as well, boosting their spending power.

"Children today are growing up in a world where so many things can be accessed at just a touch of a screen, including an almost limitless number of shops and goods," said Richard Fearon, head of Halifax savings.

"As a result it can be very easy to spend money without realising just how much is going out of your account."

"These latest figures show how easy it could be to underestimate the cost of digital spending," Fearon added.

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