Forget sweets, UK children splash out over £10 a week on tech

British children are more likely to be spending their money on technology than on comics and chocolate according to new research by the Halifax bank.

Three-quarters of 8 to 15 year olds have a mobile phone, 65 per cent own an MP3 player and 87 per cent a games console. Hardly surprising then that they say they spend most of their cash on games and downloads.

Girls are more likely to own an MP3 player than boys (70 per cent against 60 per cent) but boys are likely to spend more on computer games.

When asked about their spending habits four out of five of the children surveyed say they have downloaded a film, music, TV show, game or app from the internet. In addition, an average of five paid-for tracks are being downloaded a week, at a potential cost of around £5 with £2.30 a week being spent on computer games.

The average pocket money given by parents is only £6.35 a week, but 40 percent of 8 to 15 year olds who get pocket money from their parents also admit to receiving money from grandparents and other relatives as well, which could explain why they can afford to spend so much.

Richard Fearon, Head of Halifax Savings says, "Children today are growing up in a world where so many things can be accessed at just a touch of a screen, including an almost limitless number of shops and goods. As a result it can be very easy to spend money without realising just how much is going out of your account".

By the age of 11, 79 per cent of children have a mobile phone. And with 74 per cent of children having an average monthly mobile bill of £12, it's not surprising that 80 per cent of kids with a mobile have the bills paid by their parents on top of any pocket money.

Fearon concludes, "Budgeting money is a great responsibility and parents need to make sure that by awarding pocket money they are also giving their children the tools to understand the importance of managing how that is spent. Previous research demonstrates that a large number of children are saving a proportion of their pocket money, but these latest figures show how easy it could be to underestimate the cost of digital spending".

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