I bet you read that title and thought to yourself that your child would never do such a thing. Me too!
I know that neither of my two would ever intentionally buy something without me knowing, especially using my money but unfortunately it’s just not as simple as that these days and you see horror stories in the news where a child has unintentionally managed to spend a small fortune without their parents knowing. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of those parents would have said that their children would never be able to do that too – until they were hit with the bill!
Preventing purchases from itunes
Phone app purchases are probably one of the main ways this can happen because a surprising number of children know the password to the family iPad or to their parent’s mobile and that’s all they need to buy apps and games usually.
I can picture lots of you now shaking your head and saying how silly it is to let children have your password but even if you’re sensible and always input the password yourself, there’s still a 15 minute window after you inputting the password in which you don’t need to re-enter it to download further apps or buy in-app content.
I mentioned this to a lovely lady on Facebook who sent me in the direction of a post by Ruth at Geek Mummy. I’m glad she did because Ruth takes you step by step to the process to turn off in-app purchases and also to amend the settings so there’s no 15 minute window after typing in the password. It’s really helpful and I’d recommend you have a look and sort your own settings out. Just in case!
Preventing purchases from Google Play
I have an iPhone so I’m not sure if it’s a similar problem on Android devices but just in case you can set it so that you always need to input a password (this might even be the default option) before a purchase can completed. You need to go to the settings section and then select user controls. From there you’ll see the use password option which, when selected will mean that the password must be correctly typed in when making a purchase.
Preventing purchases from Xbox
The XBox 360 is another example of where children can make purchases without necessarily having their parents approval as you have to have a credit card registered on file and there’s no password needed before making a purchase. There’s a couple of things you can do to prevent this from happening thought.
The first thing is to make sure that each of your children their own Xbox account which has their age in the profile. Once they have you can turn on the parental settings (see here) so that when they sign in on their own account, they can’t make purchases. They can still however switch to the main account and make a purchase so you need to make sure that you password protect that account just to be on the safe side.
You can also remove your credit card from file and buy those Microsoft points to pay for XBox live and any purchases you do want to make but that’s clearly not the preferred option as there’s no option to do this on the Xbox itself so you need to ring them to do this.
So you can see how easy it is for children to make purchases using your credit card details – either unintentionally or on purpose but at least now you can take steps to prevent this from happening.