In App Purchases

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How many of us would give our children our credit card and send them into a toy store by themselves? I hope not many of you :).

In the last couple of weeks there has been a big uproar over “freemium” apps and in-app purchases. Freemium apps are apps that are free to download but give you the ability to purchase items to help you progress or finish the game faster.

In App Purchase

You can find countless stories online of parents receiving their credit card bill and discovering they have been charged hundreds of dollars in in-app purchases.

This post is not about how evil these developers are or how Apple and Google should warn parents and give refunds. It is not about blaming the parent either; although parents should be informed when it comes to giving your child an expensive device that requires a credit card on file.

No, this post is about equipping parents and giving them the tools they need to be informed.

Thankfully it is fairly easy to block in-app purchases. Just follow the simple steps below to put a barrier before unauthorized purchases from your device.

For iOS

  1. Start the Settings app from your home screen, and select the General submenu.
  2. Scroll down and tap on the Restrictions option.
  3. Enable Restrictions and set an easy for you to remember password, which should, however, not be easy to guess for users of your gear.
  4. With the password entered twice, go down to the Allowed Content option, and put the In-App Purchases slider in the Off position. This way the phone or tablet will ask for a passcode each time an in-app purchase attempt is detected.

With iOS you can also open a separate account for you child using iTunes gift cards. When the amount on the card is used up the child will not be allowed to download any apps that are not free.

For Android

  1. Start the Google Play Store app from the homescreen.
  2. Tap on the Menu button and pick Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the User Controls submenu, and tap on the Set or Change PIN option.
  4. Choose a PIN that will be easy for you to remember, but hard for the kids to guess, and reenter it after pressing OK..
  5. Now checkmark the box next to the Use PIN for purchases option, and the phone will ask for the digit code with each in-app purchase try.

For Windows Phone 8

  1. On Start , tap Kid’s Corner  and then tap Next. (You can also get to Kid’s Corner via Settings  in the App list.)
  2. To add content to Kid’s Corner, tap GamesMusicVideos, or Apps, select the items you want to add, and then tap Done
  3. When you’re finished adding things, tap Next.
  4. If your phone doesn’t already have a lock screen password, you’ll have a chance to set one now and ensure that your child can’t get to your Start screen from Kid’s Corner. Tap Set password, type your password, and then tap Done.
  5. Tap Finish to leave setup and open Kid’s Corner.

For Kindle Fire

  1. To enable Parental Controls, visit Settings (first tap “More” in the menu) on your device and select the “Parental Controls” option.
  2. On the next screen, select “On” located on the right side. The feature will then ask you to create a Parental Controls password that will be required to purchase any content on your Kindle Fire. Please note that once you select this setting, your password will need to be entered before every purchase.

I urge anyone that lends their smartphone or tablet to their child (or maybe you bought one specifically for them) to take a few minutes to make these changes in order to avoid any headaches down the line.


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