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On the 8th of May there was a very interesting Guardian article based on research that the Windows Phone team commissioned in the UK.
The key finding of the research
· Over a quarter of UK parents affected by their kids’ unauthorised app purchases
· Eight year olds have run up the largest app costs, adding an average of £59 to smartphone and tablet bills
In the Guardian article there are number of nice comment on the Kids Corner functionality and helping parents manage their children's access to the apps and games on the windows phone device.
“Microsoft deserves credit for Kid's Corner, though: it was a welcome innovation in the market that is likely to nudge Apple and Google towards improving their own parental features.
From the research it is estimated that 21m+ in the UK play games on one or more platforms. Of those 21m+ it is reckoned that 6-10 year olds are the largest demographic of users.
As you can seen by the research they, are also playing cross platform from console, mobile and browser (with 31% playing all vs 6% of 11+ year olds).
The research was carried out with over 2,000 smartphone/tablet-using UK parents, reveals that over a quarter (28%) of parents have fallen foul of their kids making unauthorised app and in-app purchases, with over eight out of ten (83%) of these parents suffering from an increased monthly bill as a result.
Over one in ten (14%) of the ‘bill shocked’ parents were concerned that they couldn’t afford to pay their increased bill, with over a third (34%) of UK parents now hiding their smartphone and tablet from their kids. Nonetheless, 17% of UK parents still share their smartphone and tablet passwords with their children, with nearly a quarter (23.5%) of parents not having a security password at all.
The findings reveal for those parents who have suffered from unauthorised app or in-app purchases, eight year olds are running up the largest app costs, having added on average an extra £59.59 to their parents’ smartphone or tablet bill. And, demonstrating the widespread issue of ‘accidental’ buys by very young children, well over a third (36%) of kids aged four and under have made app and in-app purchases without permission.
As well as the financial implications of the unsupervised use of a parent’s smartphone or tablet, there is also the risk of social media pranks. Over a quarter (27%) of kids have sneakily updated a parent’s Facebook status, and one in five (20%) updated their Twitter status. Potentially causing a career limiting move, one in ten kids have also hijacked a parent’s Facebook profile to comment on or insult their boss.
Indicating the ‘app-titude’ of tech savvy children, two-thirds of parents admit their children know as much or the same about technology as they do. Demonstrating the need for support, over three quarters (77%) believe parents need more help from technology companies to manage their kids’ app behaviours.
So its clear from the research that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and the addition of Kids Corner offers help for parents, to reduce the likelihood of suffering ‘bill shock’, providing peace of mind when kids are using smartphones.
So I would be interested in discussing this further, especially with those of you undertaking research into this area.