Kids' app spending costs parents £30m

Mums and dads get a 'bill shock' as kids run riot with tablets and smartphones, making in-app purchases without permission.

Children in Britain may have spent over £30million making in-app purchases on their parents' smartphones and tablets, according to new research.

Over a quarter said their kids had made at least one app-based transaction without their knowledge, in a survey of 2,000 mums and dads by software and tech giant Microsoft.

Of those, 83% admitted to a 'bill shock' once their receipt came through.

When asked how much their kids had spent making in-app purchases, parents estimated on average around £34. Microsoft therefore arrived at a total figure of just under £31million.

Brett Siddons, head of marketing at Microsoft's Windows Phone division, said: "With technology becoming more and more intuitive, it's important that parents can trust in the technology they use and feel as safe as possible when handing over their smartphones and tablets to children."

A resounding 77% of parents surveyed said they'd appreciate more help from technology firms in managing their children's in-app activities.

While many apps and games, like the hugely popular Angry Birds, are initially free to download, there is sometimes an option to pay for upgrades or premium features. Often, all that is required is a password - on the Apple iPad this would be the parent's Apple ID.

However, the survey found 17% of parents share their online passwords with their kids.

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