Texting Sticker Shock

from the do-the-math dept

While SMS text messaging has been popular around the world for a while, it’s been slower to catch on in the US, where kids were more used to computer-based instant messaging. However, now that text messaging is catching on in the US, some kids are coming to terms with the fact that SMS messages cost money. It appears that many either didn’t read the fine print, or had trouble doing the math to understand that at a dime a pop, these messages can add up. There are, apparently, plenty of stories of parents getting huge phone bills, thanks to kids running up SMS conversations. Honestly, this doesn’t sound all that different than when kids in a previous generation ran up huge landline phone bills. Of course, some families believe that events like these help the children learn fiscal responsibility. A bigger issue, however, is that as instant messaging providers start to push mobile versions, it’s increasingly going to be in their best interests to offer free versions on the phones as well — in order to more easily compete against the per-message SMS offerings. So, if anything, this problem may become less significant over time — until carriers try to block the mobile IM offerings to protect their SMS revenue streams.

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