App Trap

Nowadays games on phones and tablets seem to be the latest thing. I can say as a games addict it frustrates me when upgrades come up or you’re given the choice to buy gems, food, coins or equipment as in-app purchases. For me as a tech-literate 13 year old, I know these things cost real money – yes – that’s real pounds and pence from your pocket, but this is not the case for young children who haven’t even had their first allowance of pocket money.

We’ve heard more and more cases of young children racking up shocking bills on their parents phones, tablets and mobile devices. Earlier this year England rugby player Sam revealed he was caught out by ‘Tiny Monsters’, a game where players could purchase a “mountain of food” for £69.99 a pop.

Those monsters must have been hungry, because he discovered his two sons had purchased 54 of these on his iPhone in under three hours – leaving him with a bill of £3,200. In another case, eight year old Theo ran up a £1000 bill, buying virtual doughnuts on the game ‘The Simpsons Tapped Out’ on his iPad.  In yet another example, five year old Danny spent £1,700 on ‘Zombie vs. Ninjas’.

The problem with these games is that you can just click on a button, and the payment’s made. A study by ‘Savingexpert.com’ showed that the ‘My Little Pony’ app could run up bills on in-app purchases of up to £70. A study by parent and technology website Quib.ly said that 80% of parents feel that app developers are to blame for encouraging children to buy in-app purchases. Many are calling for restrictions or simple parental controls, on devices or apps. But the question remains for now is, is it safe to let our children go on games with in-app purchases.

Article written by Harley.

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