A groundbreaking education programme called PhoneBrain will now target youth clubs in England and Wales, following the successful roll out of the scheme in schools which has contributed to a 75% decrease in complaints about premium rate telephone services (PRS) in just two years.
Complaints about these services most commonly 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 purchases. And young people are amongst the hardest hit.
The PRS market in the UK is worth £810 million annually and is an area ripe for business and social entrepreneurship. But in 2008 there were 23,624 total complaints to PhonepayPlus the UK national regulator for PRS. Positively, in 2010, the number of complaints fell to 6058 complaints – and this reduction is due to projects like PhoneBrain which helps young people understand issues surrounding PRS.
The award-winning scheme has in two years reached 20% of schools nationwide with thousands of students taking part. Today it will be expanded to, aiming to reach over 1,000 secondary schools and hundreds of youth clubs to help teenagers understand how to recognise premium rate services and the costs involved, making it clear that fun with their mobiles can cost money.
This year’s project will also include a social enterprise business challenge that will encourage potential young business leaders in low-income areas to come up with business models that use mobiles for the benefit of the local community. There is a £6k bursary prize available for the very best ideas (a maximum award of £500 available for each idea) – which has been donated by UnLtd/Live UnLtd, who are the world’s largest provider of support to social entrepreneurs.
In this video, a Youth Club in Hinckley, Leicestershire is one of the first clubs to begin teaching this year’s PhoneBrain programme.
For more information visit www.phonebrain.org.uk