Majority of children own a mobile but parents stop spending on downloads

Almost three quarters, 73 per cent of children between the ages of eight and 15, own a mobile phone and two thirds, 63 per cent, have a tablet.

Pokemon Go app on a phone. Photo credit: PA Wire

Despite the popularity of these devices, parents are hesitant when it comes to allowing their children to spend pocket money on digital downloads. Almost half of parents, 46 per cent, stop children from spending their pocket money on digital downloads, according to the latest research from the Halifax Annual Pocket Money Survey.

This does not deter children however, with over eight in 10, 85 per cent, of them downloading from the internet.

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When it comes to the content children are downloading, sometimes against their parents’ wishes, games, 63 per cent, and apps, 58 per cent, are the most popular, compared to music, 52 per cent, and films, 22 per cent.

More than a third, 36 per cent, of parents who do not allow children to spend their pocket money on digital downloads cite accessing inappropriate content as a reason.

One in three parents are also worried about children overspending online, with fathers, 39 per cent, more concerned than mothers, 26 per cent.

Giles Martin, head of Halifax Savings, said: “Whilst spending on virtual items could give kids the impression of not involving ‘real’ money, parents can use this as an opportunity to educate them on the real costs of downloads. Discussing with children how to best use their pocket money can be a simple and effective way to teach kids the basics of money management and equip them with important budgeting skills for the future.”

The popularity of other types of digital devices, however, has fallen out of fashion. Only a third of children, 33 per cent, own an iPod and less than a fifth own an MP3 player, 22 per cent.

Parents are also still paying for most of children’s mobile phone bills. More than eight in 10 children, 82 per cent, say parents pay their mobile phone bills.