PhonepayPlus unveils educational campaign on phone paid services

Industry regulator PhonepayPlus is launching an innovative campaign, including a partnership with social media site Habbo, to help teach children about phone paid services with a nationwide competition.

The campaign called PhoneBrain is a schools programme set up by industry regulator PhonepayPlus that helps students create a mobile ringtone or business plan in the classroom. It is backed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

PhoneBrain revolves around research from PhonepayPlus that shows 37% of 11- 17 year olds have used music or video content on their phone in the past six months. It will combine the skills students are required to learn with young people’s passions for music, social networking and mobile content byexplaining how to use phone-paid services – such as voting on TV shows, entering competitions, and downloading mobile games and ringtones – safely to avoid unexpected charges.

To launch the initiative, PhonepayPlus has teamed up with popular social networking site Habbo and 16-year old music artist and entrepreneur Fugative to help reach teenagers across the UK to help teens use the skills they learn in the classroom to develop an animated Habbo ‘avatar’ mobile ringtone, create their own phone-paid service business plan. Fugative is also inviting students to create a ringtone for his mobile, with the chance to win VIP tickets to one of his concerts.

Enterprise enthusiasts will be encouraged to create a business plan for an innovative, new phone-paid service, taking into consideration the rules that apply to providers of these kinds of services. These will be judged by a panel of experts and finalists will win a half-day ‘shadowing’ Fugative to get a feel for an average day in the music business.

Iain Wright MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for 14-19 reform and apprenticeships, says: “The DCSF supports PhoneBrain which sees teachers, regulators and industry working together to make sure young people can use new technology such as smartphones safely and with confidence. PhoneBrain delivers a clear message to young people in a fun way: be sure and be confident about what you buy on your phone.”

PhonepayPlus’ Chief Executive, Paul Whiteing, adds: “Young people enjoy buying the latest content for their mobile, but a small minority are still falling foul of confusing pricing or unclear subscription charges and could lose their credit or rack up large bills. PhoneBrain aims to give students the confidence to enjoy these services, knowing they’ll get what they wanted at the price they expected to pay.”

The winners of the PhoneBrain ICT and Enterprise challenges will be announced in late May/early June.

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