Online commerce

Many young people use the internet for online commerce, as a way of buying, trading or making money. Learn more about common forms of online commerce such as online shopping and moneymaking online.

This will help you to:

  • understand online commerce
  • understand online shopping and moneymaking online
  • talk to young people about internet use
Adult looking at laptop screen closeup

Online shopping

Online shopping is common enough that retail outlets are blaming reduced sales on increased competition from online stores. Buying online can lead to bargains and access to unique items made globally.

It often requires a credit card, which can be difficult for young people under 18, and involves the risk of credit card fraud if the vendor is untrustworthy or doesn't have adequate security in place. PayPal is considered a safer way of making transactions, especially when dealing with unfamiliar individuals or businesses, because the vendor receives payment without ever seeing the customer's bank details. PayPal accounts can be authorised to make payments direct from a credit or debit bank account, or money can be deposited into a PayPal account from bank accounts with no authorization to access those accounts. As such, parents could deposit a set amount into their child's PayPal account, giving them some autonomy and practice at managing money, without giving them free access to their credit card.

For consumers that can't or don't wish to purchase products online, they will still often "shop around" online by comparing prices quoted on the websites of different retail outlets.


Moneymaking online

There are a number of ways a young person could make money online.

Consumer surveys and competitions with cash, raffle or voucher rewards require a low level of technical proficiency, but can generate income.

Some user-managed sites, or profiles on bigger sites such as YouTube, host ads and offer the content providers a portion of ad revenue.

Other sites allow users to sell craft items, like Etsy, or receive commission on designs like Threadless t-shirts.

Some multiplayer online computer games allow users to make, buy and sell items to be used in the game, such as clothes for your avatar to wear in Second Life).


Learn about other trends

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