ASIC helps teens become mobile phone savvy

Tips kids need to know to avoid costly mistakes

ASIC has launched a series of multimedia classroom activities to help teenagers navigate the costs of mobile phones.

The activities will teach students in Years 5–8 how to be smart mobile phone consumers and have been developed as part of ASIC’s MoneySmart Teaching program. 

Mobile phones are part of everyday life for the majority of teenagers as they move into secondary school. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 22% of 9–11 year olds own a mobile phone. This jumps to 73% for 12–14 year olds.

ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, ‘Mobile phones give us unprecedented access to information, entertainment and our friends and family, but their features can be expensive if they are not understood and used responsibly. 

‘We need to teach young people to use their mobile phones responsibly now, so they can make more confident and informed decisions, prevent costly mistakes and avoid falling into debt later in life.’

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has proved how costly those mistakes can be for young adults only a few years out of school. 43% of 18–24 year olds admit they overspend on their mobile phone plan and this happens on average nearly three times a year. When asked how much extra they over spent on their last bill, 23% said $51–$100, 18% by $100–$200 and 15% by $200–$499. 

The MoneySmart Teaching multimedia classroom activities help students:

  • choose a mobile phone plan based on what they use it for and their budget (Choosing a plan)
  • look at the included value of a plan and the cost of calls, text and browsing the web (Calls, messaging and browsing)
  • understand the cost of uploading videos and downloading pictures on social media (Social media)
  • know what a premium service is and how to unsubscribe from one (Premium services)
  • identify advertising techniques used to promote mobile phone plans (Mobile phone advertising)
  • pick a scam and know where to go for help (Security)
  • see how in-app advertising works by paying more to reach new levels in games (Entertainment)
  • understand how advertisers can access personal details if you subscribe to competitions and promotional offers (Advertising)
  • see how calls, SMS, voicemail, social media, internet and downloads use credit (Mobile credit).

ASIC is encouraging teachers and parents to check out the activities and introduce them into their schools and homes. Activities are free to download at the MoneySmart Teaching website ( and can be used on iPads, tablets and computers. 


ASIC’s multimedia activities on mobile phones are part of the MoneySmart Teaching program currently being taught in Foundation to Year 10 in schools across Australia.

The activities were developed with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).

The MoneySmart Teaching program is part of the Federal Government’s $10 million Helping Our Kids Understand Finances (HOKUF) initiative to improve financial literacy in schools.