Many people will have read or heard of stories where young people have inadvertently run up huge bills on their mobile phones through in-app purchasing.
For those not sure what apps are, they are small specialised software programmes which can be downloaded to a mobile device to carry out a particular function. Apps can have many positive applications and young people love to personalise their own devices by downloading apps which can be useful such as looking up the weather (it's always good to know when to carry an umbrella!) or fun such as playing games and sharing photos on a social networking site. Childnet have developed advice about apps for young people and also for parents and carers.
The problems that are so often written about often arise through a misunderstanding - in app purchases are not always obvious - and a user may have downloaded a free game app, but then to upgrade to the next level are asked to make an in-app purchase. In doing this they would be asked to pay an additional sum of money and for content such as apps and downloads this can be paid for straight from a phone bill or using phone credit.
And even if incurred inadvertently, these costs can add up. In response PhonepayPlus (the organisation that regulates phone-paid services in the UK) are asking young people and families to come up with an idea for a simple digital tool - an app, a game, a downloadable song or a video - to help young people manage their costs on mobiles, smartphones and tablets!
The competition is free to enter and is open to UK residents aged under 16, but persons aged over 16 can enter with a family member aged under 16. Excitingly there are four ways to enter, appealing to a wide range of interests, and an idea or concept can be put forward for:
- a digital game
- a smartphone application
- a video or animation
- a digital music file
One winner will be selected from school entries, youth club entries and family entries and you can find out more details at http://www.phonebrain.org.uk/competition/terms-of-use/ and submit your entry at http://www.phonebrain.org.uk/competition/entry/.
As we look towards Safer Internet Day 2014, this is a great opportunity for young people to help CREATE a better internet!