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South Korean government caps teens mobile phone use

South Korean parents who despair at having to pay skyrocketing mobile phone bills for their chatty children now have the government on their side. Starting in 2007, new telecom regulations will include a contract that basically prohibits teens from spending more than US$40 a month on the phone.

That’s a mountain of lost revenue for the country’s telecom companies, which estimate that a full two-thirds of the country’s 6 million teenagers have mobile phones. One study found that 100,000 teens spent more than 100,000 won a month using their mobiles for gaming, texting, and chatting. That’s US$108, for those following the figures. Add to that a story from a leading newspaper that a teen killed himself when he got a US$4,000 mobile bill, and you have a serious situation.

The new telecom regulations will include advice for parents on how to teach their children to use their mobiles responsibly and how to better determine how much money mobile use will cost.

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