Saturday, December 16, 2006

kids and their mobile phones

South Korea wants teens to hang up mobile phones
Parents go crazy over the phone bill while the kid just keeps on talking. Preset limits on calling time don't always work.
South Korea is trying to stop teenagers from ringing up massive mobile phone bills with new rules that let parents control just how long the handsets are used.
Phone bill angst is rife in South Korea, where data from mobile service operators show that four out of five people own a handset and at least six out of ten school-age children have one.
A Telecommunications Ministry official said on Friday that from January, children will need parental permission to go above a preset limit, which can be up to 30,000 won ($32.57) a month.
Parents will also receive detailed information about the types of services their children subscribe to.
At present, parents can set a limit on how long children can talk on their mobiles, but all the kids have to do is ask the mobile provider to increase the limit.
In February, a teenaged South Korean boy killed himself after tallying a phone bill of 3.7 million won ($4,017).
"The ministry hopes these regulations will prevent teenagers from making a lot of mistakes about how they use their mobile phones, which can lead to mounting bills," the telecommunications ministry said in a press release.
Cho Jin-kyung said she hoped the new regulations would mean her teenaged daughter spends less time on the phone and more with her books.
"My daughter's phone bill always causes me stress," Cho said. "I scold her all the
time over it and threaten to cut her allowance, but it never works."
I remember when I did teach middle school aged kids, I sometimes caught them using their phones in class (hidden under the tables). They would be sending text messages to their friends. Sometimes their phones would ring and they would actually answer them! I put a stop to that pretty quickly. If it is their parents phoning, well, maybe I would let them answer (although, their parents should know where they are to begin with, since THEY are paying for the lessons). Some Korean rack up huge phone bills. My friend/co-worker, Kelly, is one of them. She said the phone company is actually sending her a gift for Christmas because her phone bill has been so high.
Foreigners, for the most part, have pay as you go deals. For some reason, Koreans can't do the pay as you go. Wouldn't that solve the problem with the kids' phone bills???
Up until recently, the only way to actually have a contract phone was to have a Korean friend sign up for you. The phone I have now, I got on a contract. I had a friend sign up for a 3 month contract so that I could get the phone. I could have extended the contract, but figured I didn't use it enough for it to be worth it. I usually only use it for texting. So I changed it to a pay as you go set up. I have heard that it is getting easier for foreigners to get contracts, but I haven't really looked into that. The pay as you go is so easy. I don't have to worry about a monthly phone bill for it (especially since I have a phone bill for my home phone already). When it does start getting low, I just get my boss to phone in and add won (money) to my phone and I pay her back. Or I could go to any KTF shop and get them to do it. I love texting. :D

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