Mobile Phones Driving More Kids To Declare Bankruptcy?

from the gotta-learn-financial-planning-somehow dept

Textually points us to a report in Australia claiming that more teenagers these days are declaring bankruptcy and it's because they're racking up huge mobile phone bills that they weren't expecting. It's the type of story that certainly sounds plausible -- after all, we know that mobile phones are popular with kids, and every once in a while you hear about ridiculous phone bills. It isn't hard to put it together and think that there are some irresponsible or careless kids who need to declare bankruptcy because of these bills. However, the article doesn't provide any evidence that this is really happening. The single source providing the info is a gov't bureaucrat, talking about a study done by the government, which found that many young people didn't know how to deal with high bills -- which is quite different from proof that they're declaring bankruptcy. She does claim that financial counseling services are seeing an increase in young people seeking to declare bankruptcy, but the article doesn't talk to any such service or get any numbers on bankruptcies among young people (or even seek to find out that, if there are such bankruptcy, how many are due to high mobile phone bills). That's not to say it's not happening. After all, the story sounds like one that is plausible to many people. It just would have been nice to have seen a little more concrete evidence, rather than offhand conjecture reported as fact.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    4-80-sicks, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    A good descriptor of this phenomenon that I've seen another poster write here is "stenography journalism."
    I've noticed this behavior growing over the past few years (especially on TV news, but also in newspapers) but could never articulate it concisely--this phrase does the job very well.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 11:51am

    Kids don't get mobile phone bills. Their parents do. If you are a parent and you give your child a cell phone, then it's your fault. Seriously, I'm just under my 30s and I didn't own a cell until a year ago. I'm in the tech field. I'm a developer. I earn a salary of about $120k. And I still didn't see the need for a cell until last year. And that was only because it was about the same price as a landline, so I figured "what the hell".

    If a 29 year old software developer can manage without a cell phone, I think a fifteen year old highschool student can manage. And if they can't, then they or their parents should be able to afford the phone bill.

    For $100, I get three cell phones (one for myself, two for other people in my family that I like to keep in touch with across the country) and that includes free weekends, free nights and 2,000 minutes.

    Why would you need to declare bankruptcy for $100/mo?! And that's assuming you could actually rack up far more than 2,000 minutes of talk time between the hours of 7am and 7am on weekdays (there are only 2,800 minutes in a month that fall between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday).

    So really, I say fuck them. And I hope this story is real. If parents are idiots and children are idiots, they should suffer. All the better for the smart people in the world to take advantage of their stupidity.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    By the way, since when can a child declare bankruptcy? A child can not sign a legally binding agreement. A child can not establish a cell phone contract. Cell carriers do not sell phones or plans to children.

     

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  4.  
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    bubbas, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 11:56am

    thats problably because nobody would call you

    . I'm in the tech field. I'm a developer. I earn a salary of about $120k. And I still didn't see the need for a cell until last year.


    you sound like a complete tool...

     

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  5.  
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    DJ, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    WOW a tech that doesn't need a cell phone. I call bullshit with that one right there. You make 120K and not have a cell phone either your own or company owned, I smell a liar. Amazing how the internet can bring out the big wigs on boards everywhere.

     

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  6.  
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    TheDock22, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re:

    By the way, since when can a child declare bankruptcy?

    I do not think they mean child as in what you are meaning because the article is about teenagers and declaring bankruptcy. A teenager can be 18 or 19 and therefore enter into a legally binding contract.

    Also if the teenager is emancipated that allows them to enter into legally binding contracts before the age of 18. Then again, this article is about Australia. They might allow 16 year olds to enter into contracts, I know a couple countries that do. I think they mean 18- and 19-year-olds though.

     

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  7.  
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    Poppageorgio, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    "Why would you need to declare bankruptcy for $100/mo?! And that's assuming you could actually rack up far more than 2,000 minutes of talk time between the hours of 7am and 7am on weekdays (there are only 2,800 minutes in a month that fall between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday)."

    Double-check my math, but 60x12=720 720x5 (days a week)=3600 3600x4 (weeks a month)=14,400 some software developer. Can't even do math.

     

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  8.  
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    Nick, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

    What does being in the tech field and making 120K have to do with needing a cell phone? There are probably more business people with a need for a cell/blackberry than a developer.

    You are right though, social life wise developers probably have the least need of anyone for a cell phone.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re:

    I checked your math. We didnt need to point out he's wrong to show him for an idiot, as he already had that covered himself, but.. well.. now we have.

     

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  10.  
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    Brian, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 12:37pm

    hmmm

    Mike writes 7 to 10 blurbs a day about news thats already reported people, they're not ALL going to be good. The title alone is enough to sound idiotic - "Mobile Phones Driving More Kids To Declare Bankruptcy?" - this from "The Insight Company for the Information Age" ?

    It feels so... insightful!

     

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  11.  
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    bl00k, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 1:12pm

    NON-News

    wtf is up with all these articles that try to make something out of nothing? Seriously, I see this more and more. "some guy said something and there is nothing to back it up, but I thought I would regurgitate it here so more people can waste their time reading NON-news." Stopping pointing out this kind of crap that doesn't mean anything to anyone. What a waste of time. Stop using attention grabbing titles to bring people to your uneventful story.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    le Blue Dude, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Kids don't get moble phone bills...

    Collage students (kids) do. Further, that's PHONE charges. And that doesn't include roaming charges. Many idiots use cellphones as anything BUT a phone.

    Now, me, I use my cell as a phone only, so it's eaisy as fuck to pay.

    People who DNL ringtones, use cell-internet, play games... $9.99 each, and often a lot. That is expensive.

    And that is collage students. As a collage student myself I know someone who pissed away roughly $2,000 on his cellphone in one month. mind you after that he wised up, and now he also only uses it as a phone.

    Texting is expensive, for both sender and revicer.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 2:19pm

    The fact that kids are racking up huge phone bills in the first place, and the filing for bankruptcy because they can't pay the bills, shows a complete lack of parental responsibility in financial matters. My parents taught me how to use money and credit wisely, and my credit rating is essentially spotless at 24 years of age. The credit limits on my credit cards keep getting raised without asking, and I have no problem whatsoever getting financing for large purchases. I generally go by two rules of thumb: I don't spend money I don't have, and I never carry a balance on a credit card, which results in ridiculous interest rates.

    Kids need to learn that spending money they don't have (i.e. credit cards) can be extremely dangerous, and filing for bankruptcy at such an early age will essentially destroy your credit rating for life. It's up to parents to teach good financial skills to their kids. Unfortunately, we now live in an age where parents often don't give a rip about teaching their kids anything. Instead, they expect the schools to raise their kids. This is NOT a good scenario.

     

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  14.  
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    Wizard Prang, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 2:47pm

    If kids are not old enough to enter into a legally

    ...how can they declare bankruptcy?

    Just a thought.

    Note to parents: Try "We can't afford it". Worked for me...

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    Re: hmmm

    "Mike writes 7 to 10 blurbs a day about news thats already reported people, they're not ALL going to be good. The title alone is enough to sound idiotic - "Mobile Phones Driving More Kids To Declare Bankruptcy?" - this from "The Insight Company for the Information Age" ?"

    Click through the link Mike provided and see the topic he is calling BS to is, "Mobile phones 'bankrupting' more teens".
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Mobile-phones-bankrupting-more-teens/2007/11/07/1194 329297045.html

    so I dont get who you are trying to slam...

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 5:34pm

    Re: thats problably because nobody would call you

    I am in the tech field also and Im a developer as well, i make somewhere around 40% of what you make, would you please hand my resume to HR dept. and put in a good word for me?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 10:07pm

    Forget minute plans

    My provider gives me unlimited everything (domestic LD, text, movies, and web browsing). I've never paid more than $40 a month for it. If someone ends up paying insane amounts of money, find a provider with a better plan.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 4:16am

    I love the way some posters can't believe a person doesn't want/need a cell phone.

    Pathetic.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    aussie, Nov 10th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

    Australian telcos are greedy and mean

    Australian telcos have charging plans that hit users with huge fees for exceeding specified limits. This effect is worse with seemingly cheaper plans. It is quite possible for a poorly informed teenager to rack up phone bills of $2,000 each month for three months. This also occurs with internet connections, where new users music and movie downloads cause new users to dramatically exceed their limit.

    Until consumer groups and the media started drawing attention to this problem in Australia, Telstra and the other telcos would respond by demanding payment and using aggressive collection agencies. That's why teenagers would declare bankruptcy. For low-income families, it was the only feasible way out of the trap.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    alena, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 6:21am

    Cheap Mobile Phones

    Mobile phones become the passion of new generation but it become the problem on other hand as well due to the burden of mobile phone bills. Pay as You go Mobile Phones is good program for teenagers. The Latest Mobile Phones technology is the attraction for teenagers but many network companies running very cheap contract program with manufacturing companies of Mobile Phones

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    "College" Student, Oct 21st, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Kids don't get moble phone bills...

    lol... "collage". Did yew go too collage two lurn how too spel?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    glock richards, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    grow a bigger penis

    grow your penis is a fantastic website visit it @ http://www.growbiggerpenis.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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