Six-year-olds run up huge mobile-phone bills

16th March 2001 at 00:00
AUSTRIA: Schoolchildren are to get special lessons in sensible spending after teachers and parents noticed that children as young as six were ringing up massive mobile-phone bills.

Around a third of children in Carinthia, a province in the south of the country, have mobile phones and mobile - phone companies are earning pound;200,000 a day from SMS (Short Messages Service) text-messaging which is a craze with students.

Rudolf Altersberger, vice-president of the province' schools' council, said: "Pupils had started to turn to their teachers because they were so worried about the large bills that they had rung up. Many were too scared to tell their mums and dads."

The province's debt-counselling service, banks and mobile phone companies have formed a team of experts to go into schools to give consumer education lessons. They will warn students of the dangers of debt and tell them how to spend more sensibly.

Michael Leidig

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