|While this "My Little Pony" game is free to download, the "gems" used as in-game currency are sold in packs for up to $30 each.|
If you have children who use your mobile devices to play games, it might be a good idea to double-check your system settings.
Many mobile apps aimed at children include the option to purchase in-game perks and points for real-life money. In fact, there's allegations of many "free" games purposefully luring kids into doing this. Parents can be completely unaware until a large charge appears on the monthly cell phone or credit card bill - and by then it may be too late to get any of that money back.
While lawsuits have been filed against Google, Apple, and Amazon over unauthorized charges made by minors, the easiest way to avoid accidental payments (and having to jump through hoops to get your money back) is to disable in-app purchases entirely.
Here's a quick guide for Android and Apple devices - however, if your device is more than a few years old, you may want to look up a specific walkthough.
- Open “Google Play.” At the top of the page, there is a menu button (resembling three horizontal lines). Select this, then select “Settings.”
- Depending on the version or device you’re using, there’s either a “Use Password” or “Use Pin” option for purchases. Select whichever option you’re given to activate it. If you don’t have one yet, the device will request that you create the password or pin.
- There is also an option to set the password/pin to only trigger every thirty minutes – in other words, if you enter your password to buy an app, you won’t be asked to verify any purchases made for thirty minutes afterwards. Make sure this option is set to "always ask for password/pin."
- Open the “Settings” screen. Select the “General” menu, and then select “Restrictions” (near the top of the page).
- Select “Enable Restrictions” – the very first option at the top. You will have to create a 4-digit passcode. Enter it twice to confirm.
- Disable “In-App Purchases” by selecting it, which will un-check that option. You may also wish to disable “iTunes Store,” “iBooks Store,” and “Installing Apps” in order to block all purchases entirely.