Freemium Games and How to Prevent those Expensive In-App Purchases

Surprising NewsYou’ve no doubt heard the stories of parents being stung for hundreds or thousands of pounds worth of bills after their children have inadvertently agreed to buy upgrades or in-app purchases for games they’ve been playing on mobile phones or tablets. There’s also been a lot of discussion in the media about the potential to rack up huge bills on so called ‘Freemium’ games, many of which are aimed at young children. So what can you do to prevent your little darlings from getting carried away and accidentally emptying your bank account?

If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can double check that your settings are robust to avoid any surprise charges. Simply go into the ‘Settings’ Menu, scroll down to ‘Restrictions’ and set a ‘Restrictions Passcode’ (definitely a new one which you don’t share with your kids!) – this PIN will be needed if anyone wants to change the restrictions in the future so don’t lose it. Within the restrictions screen, there is an ‘Allowed Content’ option where you can either chose to switch the In-App Purchases to ‘Off’ or you can set the ‘Require Password’ to ‘immediately’ so your iTunes password is needed every time you want to make an in-app purchase.

If you have an Android phone you need to go into the ‘Play Store’ icon which may be found on your home screen or in the apps menu. On the top right of your screen, there should be a menu icon (3 vertical dots),tap this icon and choose the  ‘Settings’ option. Go down to ‘User Controls’ and set up a 4-digit PIN which similar to the Apple devices will be required if you want to make any changes to user controls in the future. Move to the ‘Use PIN for purchases’ option and check the box alongside it to turn it on so the PIN you’ve set is required for apps or content purchases and don’t tell the kids what it is!