Watch out for children's mobile phone and internet use this summer | ACMA

Watch out for children's mobile phone and internet use this summer

Parents should take steps to avoid potential excess usage charges from mobile phones, tablets and computers over the summer holidays.

Members of the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Consumer Consultative Forum are warning parents of the dangers of bill shock caused by excess usage charges.

With teenagers and children having more time to relax, downloads of data-hungry games and videos can eat up the family’s monthly included data allowance (on your mobile plan or home broadband plan) more quickly than usual.

Depending on the plan, this could expose you to excess usage charges.

If you (or your child) are on a post-paid plan for your mobile phone, device or home broadband, here is an infographic to help avoid any unexpected charges and some tips below:

>       keep an eye on what your kids are downloading and the apps they are using (particularly those that offer in-app purchases);

>       remember that using ‘catch-up’ services on your Smart TV will also eat into your home broadband data allowance (by as much as 1.6 gigabytes per hour);

>       familiarise yourself with your service provider’s spend management tools so that you can easily monitor your usage in real-time;

>       look out for usage alerts sent by your service provider when you hit 50%, 85% and 100% of your data allowance (note that these alerts may be received up to 48 hours after you have hit the relevant milestone, so make allowances  for immediate past usage);

>       remind yourself how excess usage charges are calculated (check your Critical information Summary);

>       encourage your kids to use low-cost or free of charge wi-fi hot spots where possible – particularly to download large files;

>       if you are close to hitting your data limit, talk to your provider about how to avoid or minimise excess usage charges.  Some providers offer inexpensive data packs that you can add to your allowance and plans that simply bump you up to the next biggest data allowance if you exceed your usual allowance.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Media release 76/2014 - 4 December


The ACMA’s Consumer Consultative Forum is convened under section 59 of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005.

 The aims of the CCF are to:

>       provide a forum to engage demand-side and supply-side interests on communications consumer issues

>       ensure that the ACMA has access to representative perspectives on issues affecting consumers

>       within the context of overall consumer interests, position the interests of systematically disadvantaged consumers.

 Membership consists of appointed consumer representatives, industry representatives and regulators. The membership meets regularly to consult on topical matters.

 Consumer representatives

>       Stella Avramopoulos, CEO, Kildonan Uniting Care (until March 2016)

>       Hollie Baillieu, Chair, Innovation Committee, National Farmers Federation (until March 2016)

>       Narelle Clark, Director of Operations—Deputy CEO, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (until August 2016)

>       Teresa Corbin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (until August 2016)

>       Daniel Featherstone, General Manager, Indigenous Remote Communications Association (until August 2016)

>       Chris Jeffery, Policy Officer, Council on the Ageing Western Australia (until March 2016)

>       Catriona Lowe, Treasurer, Consumers Federation of Australia (until March 2016)

>       Professor Julian Thomas, Professor of Media and Communications, Swinburne University of Technology (until March 2016)

 Representatives from industry bodies

>       Chris Althaus, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association

>       John Stanton, Chief Executive Officer, Communications Alliance

 Regulatory and government representatives

>       Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

>       Sylvia Spaseski, Assistant Secretary, Consumer Access, Department of Communications

 Independent representative

>       Simon Cohen, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

Forum Chair

>       Chris Cheah, Full-time Member, Australian Communications and Media Authority

Last updated: 02 December 2014