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.
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:
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:
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:
To Find App Developer Contact Information:
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
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 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)
Note: When the Game rating filter is turned off, the game rating settings are hidden. Turn it on to reveal them.
Visit www.mummypages.ie/ to links to the articles and advice on this topic, which can be found in its 'Family Entertainment & Tech' section: