Tesco Mobile has offered a lifeline to parents across the UK who are footing a soaring bill for their chat-happy teenagers, who remain blissfully unaware of the thousands of pounds their phone habit is costing.
One in three teens assumes their monthly phone bill is just a tenner or less but 40% of parents are actually forking out up to six times more than that every month.
The average British family could end up spending £8,000* in total taking care of their youngster’s phone bills until they leave Uni but teenagers appear to be blissfully ignorant that their mobile habits are having a huge impact on the family budget.
This alarming lack of financial awareness amongst teenagers has driven Tesco Mobile to introduce a service that allows parents to cap the amount spent on a mobile contract each month but with the combined flexibility to top up if required.
The ‘capped tariff’ will help parents manage the monthly family spend and encourage shared responsibility with teens, giving them an early and much needed lesson in financial management.
Gone are the days of teenagers doing anything to avoid the dreaded ‘grounding’. Over a quarter of all teens (28%) felt that having their mobile taken away from them would be the worst punishment a parent could impose so the network hopes that the service will help families find a happy medium when it comes to one of the biggest causes of family strife.
Furthermore while three in four teens are using their mobile phones to text or call their friends, rather than checking in with their families, 51% of parents say the safety of their teens is their number one priority, justifying the spend on their children’s phone bills.
Donna Dawson, a leading psychologist specialising in personality and behaviour of young people commented on the findings:
“Teenagers living at home are unaware of the cost of everyday items; their own immediate needs and desires are the most important issue to them at this stage.
“With their pressing need to stay in touch with friends through call, text and online presence, it is easy for teens to run up high mobile phone bills.
“Parents, meanwhile, are more concerned that their children have access to a mobile phone to communicate their whereabouts and to keep them safe.
“A ‘capped contract’ is an option as it sets an initial financial boundary which teaches teenagers about responsibility and consideration, while giving parents the choice to extend the limit when and if they think it necessary.”
The service is available on all handsets and tariffs available on Tesco Mobile, including the brand new iPhone 4S, which means that families can retain the same control even if their teenager has the very latest in smartphone technology.