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Parents increasingly concerned about kids' digital spending: study

Last Updated Nov 1, 2018 at 9:49 am PST

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Summary

Parents worry our cashless society makes it too easy for kids to spend money without realizing the consequences: survey

A new study suggests kids as young as four are becoming too savvy about digital spending

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’re a parent, you’ve probably found a little — or maybe a large — surprise on your credit card statement after a child in your household made an online purchase through a game or app.

According to a new study, kids as young as four are actually becoming quite savvy when it comes to making digital payments in an increasingly cashless society

“They’re just becoming more and more comfortable with digital technology at a much, much younger age,” explains Rina DeGrazia, vice president of financial education at TD. “I think this just changes the whole relationship between parents and kids and how they educate them.”

She says a majority of parents worry it’s too easy for kids to spend without realizing the consequences.

With parents taking a look at their own spending habits, she believes it’s up to moms and dads to teach good habits when tapping or clicking.

“It’s important to help children understand, and make that connection with money, that when they’re actually making those transactions, that they need to understand what’s the connection between that and earning money and a job, and how do you actually connect all those dots together.”

So what are kids spending money on? The survey finds food, online shopping and entertainment, like music and gaming, are the top purchases for those between the ages of four and 17.

“Certainly, parents have an opportunity to help kids understand that those things are actually not free,” DeGrazia says.

She adds the other important piece to keep in mind is not losing sight of the importance of saving.

“I think that there’s lots of financial lessons to be learned for children… Almost 90 per cent of parents would agree that it’s their responsibility to take the lead on that.”

DeGrazia suggests parents introduce digital tools to help their kids keep track of purchases.