Mobile money

What’s your phone cost?

95% of UK teenagers will have a mobile phone by the time they’re 15. You might have had one for a while, or be looking forward to getting one, but do you know what you’re sharing and what it’s costing you when you’re texting, swiping, gaming and uploading?

Mobile money

It’s not just texts, calls and using the internet that costs you money, phones are like wallets – even using free apps, texting or calling premium rate numbers can cost you or the whoever pays the bill serious amounts of cash.

You can also share serious amounts of information, accidently or on purpose. That can be used by companies who try and advertise to you, or by people you don’t know who might try to contact you.

Having a phone is a real responsibility so make sure you know how to use it safely.

What are the risks?

  • Cash money.

    You are responsible for your mobile phone and that may mean paying the bill. If you’ve entered competitions, bought virtual items in an app, bought credits, donated to charities or called 118, chances are you’ve been racking up bills on what’s known as a “premium” number. The bill can rocket through the roof - one 5 year old spent £1,700 on an iPad app.

  • Where are you?

    If 'share my location' is turned on in an app, on Google Maps, social networking sites or messaging services, they can share exactly where you are when you share a message or a photo. Be careful because it’s not just your friends who might see this information. You don't want randoms knowing where you are and potentially who you are with!

  • The hidden cost of apps.

    Know what you’re downloading. Some apps may be free to download but then have 'in-app' charges to encourage you buy virtual items. Did you know apps can also send texts from your phone to pay for digital items like credits?

  • Treat your password like your toothbrush.

    By sharing passwords and PINS, you may be leaving yourself open to identity theft, hacking or account take-over and this may lead to cyberbullying or blackmail

  • Got your number.

    Apps use your mobile number or email address to connect you with other people. Do you know who has access to your phone number? What if you ‘friend’ has shared your phone number or email with their friends, and their friends share it on again. Stay in control of your private information.

How can I stay safe?

  • Stay in control when you’re using your mobile.

    Know what “premium” numbers are. In short texts they are 6xxxx / 7xxxx / 8xxxx; phone numbers beginning 0871 / 0872 / 0873 / 09xxx and 118xxx

  • Look out for costs

    when you’re downloading, uploading, playing in app games, using the internet abroad and sharing your information online.  

  • Set and keep your password safe.

    When you are making a password, use capital and lower case letters, special characters and or numbers - for example, 7#Th1nKu_kN0w@7

  • Know how to leave groups and block people.

    If you use messaging apps, make sure you know how to stop weirdos chatting to you.

  • Turn off ‘location’ services.

    Lots of apps will ask to use your location. Make sure you know what they’re doing with that information and that they’re not sharing it.

  • Know where to get help.

    If you’re worried about someone who’s trying to get in touch with you through your phone or trying to get your mobile phone number, tell an adult you trust or report to CEOP.

Want to know more about the phone in your pocket?

Phone Brain

Learn lots more about avoiding big bills and staying in control