Chatty children cause phone bill surprise
Evidence suggests that kids are key contributors to bigger bills
A third of parents (31 per cent) suspect that their children are picking up the phone and running up costs whilst their backs are turned.
· One in ten kids on the phone for over two hours a week
· Average household spend on phone bills reaches nearly £640 a year
· Shows like Britain’s Got Talent increasing temptation for secret dialing
““It’s clear our children love to chat"”
· Bank of Mum and Dad’s Lawrence Gold advises parents how to stay in control of kids’ calls
A third of parents (31 per cent) suspect that their children are picking up the phone and running up costs whilst their backs are turned. With many school children on half term this week, the Post Office® is warning parents to keep a vigilant eye on their call-happy kids.
With the average UK spend on phone calls now at £640 a year according to new research from Post Office HomePhone, evidence suggests that kids are key contributors to bigger bills . Almost half of people surveyed (46 per cent) said their phone bills are higher than expected, blowing the budget on a regular basis.
Parents say teenage girls are the most likely to pick up the phone – 25 per cent more likely than teenage boys. Post Office HomePhone research also revealed that:
· More than one in ten (12 per cent) children spend more than two hours a week on the phone
· Children start using the phone on their own from the age of 11
· Average child uses the phone for almost an hour a week (52 mins)
Managing household costs can put many families under financial strain. In fact one in three (29 per cent) families across the country argue about their finances, and one in ten (eight per cent) state that phone bills are a regular cause of family disputes.
Post Office HomePhone and Lawrence Gold from BBC Two’s Bank of Mum and Dad are advising parents to be wary of increasing phone usage and to make sure they and their children make best use of any free calls with their phone package, to help avoid family bust ups.
Lawrence Gold explained: “You can’t keep an eye on the kids all the time but you can educate them. Show them an itemised phone bill and explain you can track exactly who they are calling and at what times. Find out the difference between the cost of a peak and off-peak call on your contract (if you don’t already know) and tell your children.
“Post Office research shows that over a third of people (39 per cent) have little or no idea what money saving features are included in their telecoms contracts. If you’re not already aware of the money saving features on your landline or mobile package it’s time to find out”
Hugh Stacey, Head of Post Office HomePhone added: “It’s clear our children love to chat. Many parents may not want to seem mean by making their children cut back on phonecalls. But if you’ve got the right package which includes some free calls which you understand, it’s easy to let the kids chat cost effectively.
“As the majority of calls made by kids are in the evenings and at weekends, the best thing parents with chatty children can do is find a landline package which reflects this pattern of calls with free off-peak calls. Evenings and weekends are often the best time to use the phone as rates are lower – and on some deals, such as Post Office HomePhone - weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines are completely free.”