Even if your kids are precious angels who would never spend money on in-app purchases, you should still know how to protect yourself and your bank account.
If your kiddo has an iPad, you know it’s a challenge to make sure they aren’t into anything they shouldn’t be. Here is our list of 14 apps police say may be dangerous for your kids. Make sure something they use isn’t on the list.
Think your kids won’t spend money on in-app purchases?
Jessica Johnson of Wilton, CT, never imagined her sweet little boy, George, would even have the ability to make a single purchase in his favorite game. Never mind $16,293.10!
She said it took place over several months. When she started to see withdrawals, she thought she’d been the victim of a hack. Surely someone had stolen her credit card info.
Nope. Cute little George had been on a spending spree. He was blowing through her credit card limit $1.99 to $99 at a time.
After she filed a fraud alert, she was told to talk to Apple because that’s where the charges originated. She said once she saw it had something to do with the game Sonic Forces, she knew it was true. It was her son’s favorite.
“It’s like my 6-year-old was doing lines of cocaine – and doing bigger and bigger hits.”
After reaching out to Apple, they were pretty chilly to her. They told her she should have changed settings so he couldn’t do what he did. She said whoa there a minute, Apple.
“Obviously, if I had known there was a setting for that, I wouldn’t have allowed my 6-year-old to run up nearly $20,000 in charges for virtual gold rings,” Jessica said.
Jessica alleges Apple never alerted her to charges.
Good old Apple said she’s not getting her money back because she didn’t inform the company within 60 days of the charges. She didn’t tell Apple on time, she said because Chase told her the transactions were likely to be a fraud.
Jessica says this game (and Apple) are predatory in their appeal to children. “What grown-up would spend $100 on a chest of virtual gold coins?” I gotta say I agree.
How to keep Apple from doing the same to you.
I’m going on record as saying I think it’s genuinely crappy that Apple is refusing to refund these charges. (As of this writing.) They are a bajillion dollar company. She is a busy mom trying to pay her freaking mortgage.
I should mention that Apple, surely because this happens way more than you and I know, has created a website for parents –Apple Families. There they explain what to do to protect your kids and your credit card.
In a nutshell, here’s the gist.
- Use Screen Time to set the amount of time they can spend on games and apps. You’ll get weekly reports and your kids can’t slip something past you.
- Use the Down Time setting to lock everything up when you need to. Bedtimes, during homework, etc.
- Enable ‘Ask to Buy.’ That forces you to approve or deny each app purchase.
Get their devices in check.
Before you get busy and forget, grab up all those devices and set up stringent parental locked doors. You may think they’re not smart enough to do it, or maybe even too smart to do it, they’ll surprise you. Don’t wait until Apple is telling you they’re not giving back the $16K your kid spent.
Sher Bailey is a writer in the Midwest who believes the power of humor, Mod Podge, and grandkids can fix most problems in life. You can find her at SherBailey.com.