Half of parents ban children from spending pocket money on smartphone downloads amid fears about 'inappropriate content'
Half of parents do not allow children to spend their own pocket money on digital downloads, figures show, amid concerns about "inappropriate content".
New research shows that 91 per cent of children with mobile phones own a smartphone and nearly two thirds (63 per cent) own a tablet.
But parents' rules are not always effective as the figures show that more than eight in 10 (85 per cent) of children are downloading from the internet, with games and apps being the most popular downloads, followed by music and then films.
The research, by Halifax, shows that concerns about "inappropriate content" and overspending are the top worries that stop parents from letting their children spend money on downloading content on to smartphones and tablets.
With the vast majority of children saying their parents pay their mobile phone bills, a third of parents worry that their children are overspending online, with 39 per cent of fathers concerned compared to 26 per cent of mothers.
The survey, of 1,202 children aged between eight and 15, found that more than eight in 10 said it was the responsibility of the parents to pay their phone bills, while only one in 10 said it was up to them to pay it.
Giles Martin, head of Halifax Savings, believes parents can use the concept of online downloads as a way to teach their children about money management.
He said: "Whilst spending on 'virtual' items could give kids the impression of not involving 'real' money, parents can use this as an opportunity to educate them on the real costs of downloads.
"Discussing with children how to best use their pocket money can be a simple and effective way to teach kids the basics of money management and equip them with important budgeting skills for the future."
Smart devices have massively overtaken the most popular gadgets of just a few years ago. Now only a third of children own an iPod, and less than a quarter have an MP3 player.