Here was another print/ Online article regarding BMP that the writer weighs both sides of what his paper has been hearing. From the Joplin Globe:
Published May 27, 2009 06:47 pm - A new Web site is aimed at capturing some of the $40 billion that American teens and tweens annually spend on purchases that they research online but purchase offline because they don’t have credit cards to complete the online transaction.
Mat Anderson: You can just "Bill My Parents"
In case your teen hasn’t already brought it to your attention, a new Web site called BillMyParents.com has just launched.
It is aimed at capturing some of the $40 billion that American teens and tweens annually spend on purchases that they research online but purchase offline because they don’t have credit cards to complete the online transaction.
BillMyParents.com — the mere name of this site makes some parents uneasy — allows your teen to browse Amazon.com (and soon several other sites), and when he encounters an item he can’t live without, he can click the “BillMyParents” icon and enter a begging message that will likely include phrases such as “Please, please, please,” “I really need this because …” and “If you buy this for me I will …”
From there an e-mail will be sent directly to you allowing you to review the item(s) that your teen desires, leaving you to choose to either deny the request or complete the transaction by entering your credit-card information.
Like any new technological innovation, especially one that concerns young people and money, this new site has received both high praise and sharp criticism. Supporters of this site point out that it is a great tool for parents, as it allows them the final say on what their teen spends money on, and it also provides more security than letting teens borrow a parent’s credit card for purchases. Additionally, because the site utilizes Amazon.com, teens can be encouraged toward thriftiness by shopping around for the lowest price on an item. In many cases, teens may even opt to buy a used item rather than a new one.
However, there are drawbacks to the use of this site. While allowing teens and tweens to shop online in this way does streamline the process of buying things for your kids, the purely digital nature of it diminishes the ability for parents to use each of their child’s requests to sit down and talk about responsible shopping, spending and saving.
Additionally, this system does nothing to show young people how the real world works. I think there is a lot to be said for a young person saving her money to buy something she wants and then going through the actual process of handing over cash in exchange for the item. With the BillMyParents system, young people are excluded from the actual transaction and getting what they desire is reduced to a few mouse clicks and a pleading e-mail to Mom or Dad.
This absence of classic financial transactions in the lives of our youth is also a major contributor to rampant teen credit-card debt in our country. Many young people — and adults — don’t understand the consequences of their decisions and merely think of how easy it is to swipe a plastic card or enter some numbers on a Web site to get what they want. Unfortunately, it is this same culture of living beyond our means, not properly weighing our wants and needs and pushing the responsibility of footing the bill to someone else that has led to our nation’s current financial predicament.
Nonetheless, I’m not saying that BillMyParents.com is going to lead to the financial ruin of the next generation. I believe that this site will become extremely successful and is a useful way to simplify online shopping for some families.
But when new technology like this is being used by young people, it is important for parents to consider what messages it is sending to their kids and what teachable opportunities may be missed by transforming nagging trips to the mall to an inbox of purchase requests.