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Beware of children using paid apps

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The news is awash with stories of children using paid apps and racking up bills of thousands. As technology becomes less exclusive and our children become more aware of technologies available to them it’s easy for the doting parent to become unstuck by charges that you weren’t expecting when they are playing games on their tablet. Taking the time to find out how you can restrict these charges could save you a lot of money but still let little Timmy spend his weekends saving the world from zombies.

How does is happen?

In-App purchases occur in games that you download for free and can play like any other normal game but you can purchase upgrades such as new levels, weapons, cars, pretty much anything direct from the app provider to improve the gaming experience. So your little man downloads the latest Angry Birds game, completes the ten free levels in an hour and the the dreaded button comes up, “Click here to buy new levels”, before you know it you are paying through the nose for a game you thought was free.

Unless you sit and read all the small print in the app store it’s unlikely you will know that these in-app purchases occur, but most of the more popular games have some form of in-app purchase to improve the game-play and it isn’t always possible for you to check the content of each game, luckily there are ways to prevent this.

Learn about the apps yourself

It pays for you to know as much as possible about the tablets and phones you allow your children to use, make sure you read the instructions and check for any restrictions you can put on the device to give you peace of mind. Remember you wouldn’t let them ride a bike you hadn’t checked was safe, don’t let them loose with technology you haven’t vetted either.

Use a passwordBeware of children using paid apps

First off, get your account password protected so that any time they want to download a game, whether it’s free or not, they have to come to you and get the password put in, make sure it isn’t something the tech-savy little brain box isn’t going to guess in two seconds and don’t let them see you put it in. Then check the write-up for what they are trying to download.

Turn off automatic purchasing

Secondly turn off in-app purchases; on the iPhone, iPad etc. go in your Settings menu, find General and then Restrictions, you will see an option that says ‘Allow In-App Purchases’, switch this to off. On Android devices go into your Google Apps account and in the top right-hand corner there are three vertical dots, tap these and scroll down to User Controls and find change PIN. Tap this button and enter a Pin of your choice, now back in the User Controls menu above change PIN there will be an option that says ‘Use PIN for purchases’, check this option and you are now protected whenever your kid is tempted to make a purchase.

Taking these easy steps to protecting your money will save a lot of head aches in the future but still allow your children to enjoy using the technology they have available to them. Be sure you always check what they are downloading and don’t be afraid to say something isn’t appropriate.

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About Steven Petter

About Steven Petter

Steve has three children, Connor, Harmony-Skye and Fletcher. He is a Martial Arts enthusiast as well as an avid reader of books about Philosophy, he began writing short stories and also writes music reviews.

Website: Steven Petter

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