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Make your devices kid-friendly and stop in-app spending

Do you ever let your kids play on games on your smart phone or iPad while you’re not watching over them? If so, they could be accidentally spending money on in-app purchases, like buying extra lives to keep playing or downloading new characters. Mobile devices can often be set up to allow these purchases to happen automatically, meaning your little ones could be happily playing away, blissfully unaware of the charges they’re building up.

The Government’s Competition & Markets Authority have released guidance for parents to stop their kids accidentally racking up huge bills on mobile games and we’ve put together a few tips on how to prevent in-app spending:

Keep passwords secret: don’t tell your kids your iTunes or Google Play store password. Even if they’re nagging you because they want to spend 79p on extra lives on Candy Crush, make sure you type it in manually each time, and don’t let them see it!

Check the main offenders: have a look at the descriptions for all of the games on your device. You should be able to see whether they offer any in-app purchases and what these are e.g. you’ll need to pay to get further in the game.

Create a PIN for restrictions: you can set up a PIN to stop any in-app purchases on your phone or tablet. Go to the Restrictions section in your device’s Settings and set up a PIN code for this and keep it a secret from your kids.

Block app downloads: you can also use Restrictions to stop your kids downloading any apps without your say so.

Stop automatic passwords: don’t let any websites automatically remember your passwords, otherwise your kids could accidentally spend without having to type the codes in. When the box comes up asking if you want the password to be remembered, make sure you click ‘Never’.

Stay up-to-date with your statements: if the kids do manage to accidentally spend on your iPhone, you want to know about it ASAP. Make sure you check your online statements regularly and you’ll be able to see if there are any payments you’ve not agreed to.

Speak to your kids: if your kids are old enough, it’s worth having a chat with them to let them know that in-app purchases cost real money. Often, they won’t have realised they’re spending, so just making them aware this can help.

Have your kids ever got into trouble by accidentally spending money on games on your phone or tablet, or do you always keep a close eye on them whenever they’re playing on mobile devices? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter

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