Smartphone_as_Child_ToyKids nowadays aren’t just spending their pocket money on Ribena and The Beano, but are saving it up to buy the latest apps and digital products, research from Halifax has found.

A survey of children aged 8 to 15 found that 83% of youngsters have spent money downloading TV shows, games, films and apps from the internet, with an additional five paid-for music tracks downloaded every week. The music alone is potentially costing children up to £5 a week, with childrens’ expenditure on computer games hitting an average of £2.30 a week.

These figures exceed the £6.35 that parents say they give their children as pocket money, but with 40% of survey respondents saying that they also receive cash from relatives such as grandparents, it’s no wonder young people can afford to spend so much on digital goods.

The poll also found that 87% of children aged 8 to 15 own a games console, while three quarters (75%) have a mobile phone or smartphone and 65% have an MP3 player. Parents of 8-year-olds don’t have to worry that all of their child’s peers have smartphones, however; the research found that just 27% of 8-year-olds have a mobile. Mobile phone usage only becomes widespread when children reach the age of 11, when 79% have one.

Many parents might be surprised at the popularity of digital spending, but this research shows just how easy it is for children to splurge all their pocket money on the internet. Children could easily be spending money without realising just how much they are spending and what they could otherwise buy with this cash.

Considering the fact that most children (74%) have average monthly mobile phone bills of around £12, and that only 13% have to pay for this bill themselves, parents may find that a lot more of their income is being spent on their children’s phones than they would otherwise be aware.

If you’re worried about the potential costs of putting a gadget in the hands of a child, then take out gadget insurance!