Are in-app and game purchases getting out of control?
Picture the scene. You’re in the supermarket and you head to the checkout. The staff member scans all your items and you whip out your card to pay. You put in your pin and wait.
And wait some more.
Then you see an awkward look flash across the staff member’s face. ‘Sorry, the payment was declined. Do you want to try again?’
This nightmare situation was a reality for one couple. Mr and Mrs Carter, from Hampshire, had their card declined after their children racked up a massive bill on FIFA, according to a report from the BBC.
The couple’s four children had spent hundreds buying card packs on the Nintendo Switch console version of the game. Of course, their parents were oblivious at the time and only found out later.
Following the report, the deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, tweeted that this was an ‘alarming case’ and there should be ‘tighter regulation’ on these types of payments. The politician also said that in-game payments were a ‘gateway to gambling’.
However, it’s not just games that have dangerous payment systems. Many modern-day apps also offer this system.
If your child uses your phone or, indeed, has their own phone, they could easily buy extra services or products within the apps that they use. Needless to say, parents need to be vigilant in preventing their kids from overspending online.
How to Limit In-App Purchases on Android
You can limit in-app purchases quickly and easily on an Android device. Start by opening Google Play and heading to ‘Settings’. Next go to ‘User controls’ and press ‘Require authentication for purchases’.
When you’ve done that, anyone using the phone (i.e. your kids!) will need to use some form of security to buy things in-app. That security might be your pin number, facial recognition, iris scanner or fingerprint scanner depending on what phone you have.
How to Stop In-App Purchases on iOS
Go to ‘Settings’ and then click ‘Screen Time’ and enable it. Next, choose the option ‘This is my child’s iPhone’ or ‘This is my iPhone.’ If it’s your iPhone, you can set a passcode here. If it’s your child’s phone, you should set a ‘Parent’s Passcode’.
Next, go to ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions’ and activate ‘Content and Privacy’. Then you should choose ‘ iTunes and App Store Purchases,’ select ‘In-App Purchases’ and choose ‘Don’t allow’. That way, your children won’t be able to buy extras. Simple.