PhoneBrain Teaches Kids to Watch Their PRS

An education programme that teaches children about the costs involved when they use premium rate services (PRS) on their mobile phones is set to launch in English and Welsh youth clubs. 

Following a successful launch in schools, the scheme, dubbed PhoneBrain, aims to help teenagers recognise when they are using PRS, and make them aware of the costs involved. According to PhoneBrain, the scheme has contributed to a 75 per cent decrease in complaints about PRS in the last two years. The PRS market in the UK is worth £810m annually.

Complaints to PhonepayPlus – the UK regulator of PRS – usually relate to users paying more than they expected for ringtones and mobile games, or signing up for subscription services when they thought they were making one-off payments. In 2008, there were 23,624 complaints to PhonepayPlus, while the figure fell to 6,058 in 2010.

PhoneBrain has reached 20 per cent of shcools nationwide. It is now being expanded to secondary schools and youth clubs. 

This years project will also include a social enterprise business challenge that will encourage potential young business people in low-income areas to come up with business models that use mobiles for the benefit of the local community.

There is a £6,000 bursary prize available for the best ideas, with a maximum award of £500 for each idea. The prize fund has been donated by Live UnLtd, an organisation that provides support to social entrepreneurs.

You can watch a video of PhoneBrain in action in a Youth Club in Hinckley, Leicestershire, here