Survey shows kids spending freely online using parent's credentials

The survey of more than 1000 children between the ages of 7 and 16 found that two-thirds of kids are now hitting the cyber streets, annually spending £448 million, with around 80% using their parent's bank cards, online accounts and e-money services like PayPal.

According to CPP, the card insurance specialist that commissioned the survey, the results show that it is now time that parents woke up to the risks of letting their children shop unsupervised on the internet.

With three quarters of children not checking the security of websites when shopping online, CPP is warning parents to keep a close eye on their children, otherwise they could risk their card details being misused by internet fraudsters.

Sarah Blaney, card fraud expert with CPP, says that the peak of spending is set to increase during the Christmas period as a quarter of kids say they will or plan to buy presents online.

This is, she adds, a 10% increase on kids' online Christmas purchases over last year, potentially putting even more parents at risk of card fraud.

"Parents need to educate their children about of the very real risks of shopping online. They need to ensure that their children only put sensitive information into sites that are encrypted, trusted and secure and teach them about what signs to look for in a safe site", she said.

"It's clear that online fraud is a serious problem in the UK, with card-not-present fraud accounting for over £260 million in 2009", she added.

The research also found that children are buying a range of items, including; computer games (51%), books (42%), films (30%) and phone applications (18%).

CPP says that unsupervised access to the internet can lead to other issues in addition to the risk of fraud. For example, nearly a quarter of children have bought a video game or film that is recommended for an older age, and a handful of children claimed to have purchased cigarettes, alcohol, and even weapons and solvents.

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