Mobile phone companies should introduce lower rates for children, according to the government's consumer protection minister, Renate Künast. In an interview with the
Berliner Zeitung newspaper, Künast said she has written to mobile phone companies asking them to reduce the risk of high phone bills among young people by blocking some high-cost services. She said she was concerned about the rising rates of indebtedness among children and adolescents. A recent study found that 12 percent of 13 to 24-year-olds have fallen into debt because of cell phone usage, with the average debt load around €1,800 ($2,188). Künast told the paper that since cell phone companies had seen strong profits due to the popularity among young people of mobile phone messaging, they should offer special contracts for younger users.