UK children’s unauthorized in-app purchases could total over £30m monthly

By Alex Donaldson
8 May 2013 15:31 GMT

Unauthorized in-app purchases by British children charged to parents’ accounts without their knowledge could total a whopping £30.9 million monthly according to a new study.

According to the survey, reported by the Guardian (via Polygon) and funded by Microsoft, 28% of parents in a group of 2000 reported that they had experienced the nasty surprise of children making in-app purchases – a good chunk very likely in games – without permission.

83% of those said they’d suffered from “bill shock” – a melodramatic term if ever there was one – and saw an increase in their monthly bills.

The £30.9 million number is reached by Microsoft finding an average claimed bill increase of £34.18 from those surveyed – and across the population of Britain that could add up to as much as £30.9 million.

The survey also reveals that 17% of parents share their device passwords with their children, and 23.5% don’t set passwords at all. Parents also reported kids hijacking their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or changing or deleting phone software.

It’s worth keeping in mind that this study was commissioned by Microsoft as a PR exercise to advertise the ‘Kids Corner’ software that’s bundled in with Windows Phone 8 phones – but it’s an interesting study nonetheless. Parents: lock your phones!

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