A six-year-old boy inadvertently racked a total of S$4000 on his grandfather’s credit card bill while playing popular children’s app, "Tiny Monsters". Read more about it here and find out how you can prevent this from happening to your child.
Many experts have expounded on the bad effects of playing too much video games, yet as this case shows, video games can rack up huge bills as well.
This is just the latest in a string of cases of unwitting transaction while playing games on the iPhone or iPad.
Will Smith, 6, loves playing on his grandfather’s iPad. His favourite game is Tiny Monsters. This game, which is free for download, allows for in-app purchases to be made with real money. According to Barry Slatter, Will’s grandfather, Will bought virtual food and coins costing up to $140 each to feed and upkeep his tiny monsters.
What is shocking is that his grandparents only found out about the charges when their credit card was rejected during a routine trip to the supermarket.
The horrified grandfather, Barry Slatter, told reporters in England that he must have synced his credit card up with the App Store, allowing Will to buy hundreds of dollars of food and coins for his monsters, just by pressing some buttons.
He added, “I can’t believe how easy it is for kids to buy things. Will’s only six.”
Who is to blame?
Many are quick to point the finger at Apple and the creator of the app and there is even an on-going case of parents suing Apple after their children had racked up huge bills from the ‘free’ online games. These parents see it as Apple tempting their children to spend money on the games. Yet, we cannot rule out the role his parents and guardians had to play in this debacle.
Supervision is important
Don’t underestimate your child. Many kids as young as two are already experts at handling a smart phone or tablet. Thus, it is important to always supervise when you pass your kids your iPhone or tablet to play with as you can incur hundreds of dollars of charges just with a simple swipe of a finger.
Don’t be complacent
Make an effort to find out how you can opt out of credit card sync on iTunes or enable a setting that does not allow your child to ‘buy’ items in the virtual world.
At the end of the day, we need to realise that Apple and the app creators are driven by commerce and it is not up to them to prevent our children from buying their in-game apps or gadgets.
It’s time to engage in physical play
The best way to combat such things from happening is to put away the smart phones and tablets and take your kid out for a day of play. Take them to the zoo or the park to kick a ball or even to the beach for a swim. Trust us, your kid would enjoy the time spent out with you, relishing in the fresh air and your undivided attention.