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RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

the consumer show

App Games

App Games

App Games
It's RTÉ Tots, Tweens and Teens week on RTÉ One so The Consumer Show looks at how much children can spend without you knowing when kids play apparently free games on smartphones and tablet computers.

Many games that are free to download offer players the chance to spend real money on virtual currency and if you're not careful, your kids could spend a small fortune with a few taps of the screen.

That's what happened to Trevor Ecock whose seven year old son Scott ran up a bill of ¤270 in less than a week buying games and virtual currency on his iPhone. Lucky for Trevor, Apple gave him a refund but said it was a once-off good will gesture and warned him that they consider purchases made through an iTunes account to be final.

Regulators in the UK have reported a three-fold increase in complaints about these games. In the United States, Apple have a proposed settlement where they could potentially end up paying up to 100 million dollars in compensation to parents whose children had spent money on in-app purchases using their iTunes accounts.

The Consumer Show examines the model in which free-to-play game developers sell virtual currency in batches costing up to ¤80. And we show users of Apple iPhones, iPads and other phones and tablets using Google's Android operating system how to avoid this latest breed of bill-shock.

Laura Haugh, 'Mum-in-Residence' and Spokesperson for mummypages.ie spoke to Keelin about the feedback that she had got from some of the parents through their site.

Laura discussed some of the negative experiences parents on MummyPages.ie had in relation to in-app purchases, and listed some important advice that parents can use in relation to their smartphones and tablet devices.

  • Play the game with your child so you have a greater understanding of how the game works and if there are any costs involved.
  • Give giftcards to children so they have a sense of responsibility and understand that they are purchasing products.
  • Turn off the in-app purchase settings on the device so that your child can't make those purchases.

The Consumer Show also recommends that parents always set up a password on your iTunes or Google Play account (see below on how to set it up).

APPLE PLATFORM [iOS]

Prevent accidental In-App Purchases from being made in the future, you can block them on your iOS device. Follow these steps:

  • Tap Settings on your device's home screen
  • Tap General
  • Tap Restrictions
  • If you haven't already done so, tap Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode. This passcode will prevent restrictions from being disabled without your permission.
  • Scroll down to the Allowed Content section. Switch the In-App Purchases option to OFF. Enter your Restrictions passcode if prompted.
  • You also want to change "Require Password" to "Immediately". [The default is "15 minutes", which means, after you enter a password for a purchase, the kids get a 15-minute time window to download things without a password.]

After all these, all you have to remember is to never put in a password in front of your kids.

Alternatively you can remove your credit card from the account, which will prevent purchases from being made by anyone using the device that might overlook the warnings.

For more information, visit the Apple Support Page - iOS: Understanding Restrictions (Parental Controls): http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4213

GOOGLE PLATFORM [ANDROID]

To set a PIN code for purchases:

  • Open the Google Play Store app
  • Press Menu and then touch Settings
  • Touch "Set or change PIN"
  • Enter a PIN code, and touch OK
  • Re-enter your PIN to confirm
  • Check the box for "Use PIN for purchases"

Now, whenever you try to purchase an app or book, rent a movie, or make an in-app purchase, you'll be prompted to enter your PIN code before you can complete your purchase.

In-app purchases are different than other Android app purchases on Google Play in two ways:

  • There is no 15-minute refund period - all refunds are at the discretion of the developer [whereas you have 15 minutes from the time of download to return an application purchased on Google Play for a full refund].
  • Restoring in-app purchases are the responsibility of the developer

To Find App Developer Contact Information:

  • Visit Google Play and select the app in question.
  • On the app's description page, scroll down to the Developer section
  • One of the following contact options will be provided: an email address, a phone number, or a website.

For more information visit the Google Support Page: http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=1061913&topic=2450225&ctx=topic

Set up My Family on the Windows Phone website

When you set up My Family on windowsphone.com, you can manage Windows Phone Storedownload settings for your child's phone and accept the Store Terms of Use on their behalf. If you want your child to be able to download apps and games on their phone, you'll need to set up My Family, add the Microsoft account your child uses to sign in to their phone, and then accept the Terms of Use. If your child has a Windows Phone 8, you'll be able to manage their app and game download settings, including game ratings, on the My Family page.

Running into issues? See My Family FAQ for answers to some common setup questions. Note: My Family is only available for Windows Phone 8.

To set up My Family and accept the Store Terms of Use:

  • On your computer, go to windowsphone.com
  • In the drop-down menu under Explore, click My Family
  • Sign in using the Microsoft account you use to sign in to your phone. Note: If you're already signed in to windowsphone.com, you'll see your name, not Explore, at the top of the drop-down menu, and this sign-in step will be skipped.
  • On the My Family setup page, click Get started.
  • To add your child to My Family, click Go. On the sign-in page, enter your child's Microsoft account email address and password. If your child doesn't have a Microsoft account, clickSign up to create one.
  • On the My Family home page, next to your child's name, click Fix it and follow the instructions to accept the Terms of Use. Tip: You can also add another parent to My Family so both parents can jointly manage kids' settings. Go to the My Family home page and click Add a parent. Parents won't be able to change each other's settings.

To change app download settings for your child:

(You can set whether or not your child can download apps and games from the Windows Phone Store and which game ratings you want your child to be able to view and download)

  • On your computer, go to windowsphone.com
  • In the drop-down menu under Explore, click My Family
  • Sign in using the Microsoft account you use to sign in to your phone. Note: If you're already signed in to windowsphone.com, you'll see your name, not Explore, at the top of the drop-down menu, and this sign-in step will be skipped.
  • On the My Family home page, next to your child's name, click Change settings, and then do any of the following:
  • To allow your child to purchase apps and games, under App+game downloads, select Allow free and paid.
  • To allow your child to download only free apps and games, under App+game downloads, select Allow free only. This will also prevent your child from making in-app purchases, even from within free apps.
  • To prevent your child from downloading any apps or games, under App+game downloads, select Don't allow.
  • To set the most mature game rating you want your child to be able to browse or download, turn on the Game rating filter. To go to the Microsoft Family Safety website and change the rating, click Change rating.
  • To allow your child to browse and download unrated games, select the check box next to Allow unrated games. (Some unrated games might have content you'd rather your child not see.)

Note: When the Game rating filter is turned off, the game rating settings are hidden. Turn it on to reveal them.

Mummypages.ie
Visit www.mummypages.ie/ to links to the articles and advice on this topic, which can be found in its 'Family Entertainment & Tech' section:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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