|Wednesday, December 8th, 2010||| CWK Producer|
“If you go online and you have a credit card, you can spend, spend, spend, and you can continue to spend until you've reached your limit possibly, which may be way more than you ever planned or budgeted on spending.”
– Todd Mark, Consumer Credit Counseling Service
According to the Pew Research Center, 43 percent of teens with Internet access are shopping online. While adult shoppers can often find better deals and more choices on the Internet, experts say the web may not be the best shopping option for teens.
Is it easy for teens to spend too much money, online?
"Yes. Yes it is," says 19-year-old Rahil.
"I know lots of people that they've gone into debt because of how much they have been spending online," answers 19-year-old Anna.
One reason some kids overspend is that stores on the web are always open.
"I mean I buy jeans ridiculously," says 18-year-old Ariel. "It's crazy. In the morning, like 11 o'clock, when I wake up, I buy jeans."
Another problem is using a credit card.
"If you go online and you have a credit card, you can spend, spend, spend, and you can continue to spend until you've reached your limit possibly, which may be way more than you ever planned or budgeted on spending," says Todd Mark, spokesperson for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
Mark says that, at the mall, you can see what you've purchased--- and realize that you may have spent too much money. "Many times people will stop shopping, because they can't carry any more," he notes.
But online, the shopping doesn't always feel real. The items may take weeks to arrive, and kids may forget they've made a purchase.
"So you can continue to shop and shop and shop and you don't get that psychological payoff," says Mark.
Before kids go online, he says, parents should help them decide what to buy, and how much to spend. Also, wait at least a day before making a purchase.
And, he says, teach kids to use the Internet to their advantage.
"Shopping online is fantastic for comparison shopping, because never before have you had the ability to see all the prices offered from everybody at one time," says Mark.
Another piece of advice?
"Just go online for one thing at a time, definitely," says Robyn, a 19-year-old college student. "Just go in with, like, a goal - and then leave."
The Better Business Bureau provides this list of tips for shopping online: