There’s always some game that your kids are pestering you to play – if it’s not Candy Crush, then it’s Angry Birds or the newest fad, Pokémon Go. But are you aware of the dangers of your kids playing on these games while you’re not watching?
While they’re innocently tapping away, your children could accidentally spend on in-app purchases without even realising, leaving you to pick up the bill. To make sure your little one doesn’t rack up a huge bill this summer, we’re going to take you through what to look out for when letting them play the latest craze.
We’ve all heard the stories of children managing to spend large amounts of money on a device, with parents only realising once they get the bill. Most recently, one young gamer ran up a bill of £4,000 on his dad’s iPad.
Whilst Pokémon Go is free to download, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to spend as the game progresses. In a single transaction, you can spend as much as £79.99 (14,500 Pokécoins).
One way of getting around this is to put a block on in-app purchasing to stop your son or daughter buying without your permission. On the iPhone, you can do this by setting up ‘Family Sharing’ and ‘Ask to Buy’. These controls will mean that your approval is needed every time a payment goes through.
To set this up, head to Settings, click on ‘iCloud’ and then ‘Family’. Select your child’s name and click ‘Ask to Buy’. You can set up a similar function on Android devices by setting up a family group and choosing a payment method. Start this by selecting ‘Subscribe’, ‘Family’, ‘Set up Family’ and then ‘Get Started’.
Remember though, it’s not just spending extra on the app that could see you forced to pick up a large bill, but using a lot of mobile data as well. Mobile data can be used up fairly quickly with Pokémon Go and this can prove quite costly depending on the phone contract you or your child is on.
Get around this by setting up warnings on your phone or device to update you on the amount of data already spent. You’ll be able to monitor this more closely if you’re on a pay as you go contract.
Things to look out for
To make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises, remember the following tips.
Keep on top of your statements – so that if your kids do manage to accidentally spend on your iPhone or other device, you’ll know.
Put a stop to automatic passwords – not letting any websites automatically remember your passwords will keep your kids from accidentally spending. Click ‘Never’ when the box comes up asking if you want to remember the password.
Chat to your kids – if they’re a little older, your kids will be able to understand that in-app purchases use real money. Talk to them to help them understand that they should always ask you whenever they want to buy anything on a game.
And lastly, there’s one more danger to look out for. While the exciting thing about Pokémon Go is that it gets people of all ages out and about, there are potential risks if your child wants to play the game on their own as they might be interacting with other gamers. If your child is younger, it’s a good idea for you or another adult to accompany them when they’re out.