Teaching kids STEM, coding and letting them get hands on with technology are all very good things. While technology and children go hand in hand in today’s day and age (in fact, sometimes they’re better at it than you!), it’s still important to set as many boundaries as you can, not only for their health but for your wallet. Not to make a serious understatement or anything, but kids are not always on their best behavior. Leaving them alone with a smartphone, your iTunes account and a saved credit card? That can be a recipe for trouble, as one dad in the UK learned.
According to The Daily Mail, Mohamed Shugaa was blindsided when he received a £4000 bill from Apple (that’s almost $6000!) on his credit card. Appalled by the number, he did some digging. Turns out his 7-year-old son, who had access to his dad’s smartgadget, had been charging up a storm on the game Jurassic World without even knowing what he was doing. In just five days, he had run up 65 transactions, including a one hour session that cost dad $2200.
The family got their money back after 10 days, but having a credit card maxed out for that long still made Mohamed uneasy, especially with a family to support. While Apple has changed its “Free” button to “Get” to help more people understand that not all apps are actually free, there are still some things you can do to protect yourself and your account.
The Daily Mail suggests going to iTunes, scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on “In-App Purchases” to educate yourself on what exactly purchases entail. On your iPhone, you can also go to Settings > General > Restrictions and tap “Enable Restrictions” to configure those limitations and even turn off in-app purchases. In Settings, it’s also possible to filter app usage by age range and set parental controls that require your iTunes password for each purchase (but the key is you can’t give your kids your password). Or, to make it even more safe, use the TouchID.
Whatever your circumstance, try talking about it as a family and laying down some ground rules first.
Tweet us any ways you keep your family digitally safe @BritandCo!
(h/t The Daily Mail)