Mobile bills warning as children play games on parents’ phones

File photo dated 22/10/14 of a girl using an iphone mobile phone
File photo dated 22/10/14 of a girl using an iphone mobile phone

One in three parents admits their children know the passwords to their mobile devices, a survey has found.

Some 33% of parents said their offspring know their passwords - with 36% of mothers admitting to this compared with 31% of fathers, Nationwide Current Accounts found.

Parents in London, Northern Ireland and Scotland were the most likely to say their youngsters know the passwords to their mobile devices, with 45%, 43% and 40% admitting to this respectively.

And underlining the huge success of the new Pokemon Go app, more than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed said they have already downloaded or intend to download the app - either for themselves or for their children.

Pokemon Go encourages users to explore cities and towns, using their mobile phones to capture and train virtual creatures.

Meanwhile, Candy Crush was named by the parents surveyed as the game they are the most obsessed with, followed by Angry Birds.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed download games on their mobile device, console or computer at least once a fortnight, with men (27%) more likely to do so than women (20%).

The costs involved can mount up, as one in 10 (10%) people surveyed spends £11 or more per month - adding up to at least £132 per year - on games, covering both the purchase and other in-app purchases.

More than a quarter (26%) have a debit card linked to their app store account, with a further one in 10 (10%) using a credit card, the survey of 2,000 people found.

One in 20 (5%) parents said their children had run up a bill through taking advantage of in-game purchases. Around one in seven (14%) have had a bill of £10 or more. One in 20 (5%) had also given in to “pester power” and caved in and purchased apps for their children.

Asked when their child most often uses an electronic device unsupervised, more than a quarter (27%) of parents said straight after school. More than one in 10 (11%) admitted their children logged on as soon as they woke up, before going to school.

Phil Smith, Nationwide Building Society’s head of current accounts, said: “Technology and gaming is part of everyday life for both adults and children and the launch of Pokemon Go, as well as the continued popularity of apps, such as Candy Crush, has certainly amplified that.

“With the rise of apps that offer in-game purchases, I would encourage parents to discuss the financial risks with their children and outline what is safe and acceptable usage. This is particularly pertinent when children use their parent’s devices, given the number of adults that have a debit or credit card linked to their app store account.

“With the risk of being hit by an unexpected bill, it also makes sense to keep a regular eye on card transactions through internet and mobile banking.”