Kids racking up huge bills on mobile games

There is a call for urgent regulation of so-called "free" apps that end up costing parents hundreds of dollars on their iTunes accounts. ABC News Online asked people if their kids had run up app debts, who's responsible, and what can be done to stop this. Here's what you had to say:

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  1. ABC News Online asked people if their kids had run up app debts, who's responsible, and what can be done to stop this. Here's what you had to say:
  2. It happened to me

  3. it happened to me years ago whe my son was a young teenager, easy solution cut off the accounts , may upsetr the kid but you are the adult and bill payer
  4. My son ran up a huge bill (without realising) playing games on his Mother's mobile phone.
  5. Parents responsible?

  6. Parents need to be aware of app settings and not let share their passwords with their kids
  7. Kids are under 18 Reckon its the parents responsibilty to ensure kids understand IT is not free.
  8. Parents should be monitoring all computer and technology use whilst they are responsible for the billing(and their children, none the less). I would not let my children have access to my passwords! All app purchasing and in app purchasing requires your password to be entered. It then takes you through what you are spending for your final approval.
  9. Parents have to take responsibility for what their kids are doing with devices they give them, how their children are using them, how much time their kids are spending on them and what the settings are, and educating their childreb about what is appropriate use. If not, how will these kids ever themselves become responsible adults?
  10. You can't blame Apple or Google - the apps are created by third parties. Smartphones and tablets already have settings on them to prevent in-app purchasing. Parents need to learn to use them.
  11. parents, but Apple could be parent-friendly and provide some mechanisms to help
  12. 'Manipulative' games

  13. Look I agree that it is mainly the responsibility of the parent, but the fact is that these games are basically scamming devices. It is often near-impossible for a child to tell if an app is talking about in-game money or the real thing, and it can even be unclear to adults. And if it's a game aimed at younger kids, you might not even think to look. Yes there are settings you can enable to require passwords for purchases on your devices, but those settings aren't easy to find. The fact is, if Apple and Android are allowing these scammer apps to be sold through them, then the companies must have responsibility.
  14. I agree it is ultimately the parents responsibility but many of these games/apps are free to download and it seems whilst in the game it uses manipulative language to tap right into the child's psyche, thus children are spending money without even realising they are doing so. That is my understanding from the story on Lateline last night. If this is true, that is appalling and should be addressed. And it is important that children do a variety of activities, but suggesting they should be outside or reading a book instead of playing games on iPads etc is a bit rich. Of course they should play outside and read books but that doesn't mean they can't also play computer games.
  15. Personally, I find it utterly disgusting as regards the ethics of these businesses which regard children purely as a resource to be exploited. I think it will take legislation to stop it.
  16. it's the parents responsibility ultimately as they choose to allow their children to use the device to play games. there are other options for kids to play games that aren't connected to an app, it's just an easy distraction to keep them amused. However, I do agree that these games are designed in a way to create anxiety and competitiveness and they do promise greater things if purchases are made and young kids do not understand that it costs real money. Kids don't understand the concept of real money value when it's right in front of them at a shop! My daughter used to be happiest if she payed for something with one coin and got 2 back, regardless of the value.
  17. Solutions

  18. my kis play the free games, if there want to buy a game, there need to save for this. Very rarely there actually want to buy in the end the game.
  19. A combination of a prepaid android phone and an Auspost load&go card will ensure there are no surprises in the bill. Companies take advantage of the fact that people are not particularly tech savy and we might need to see some regulation there.
  20. bris_martin 7:47 AM on 18/09/2012 Do you give your 9 year old your credit card and send them to the shops and expect that to end well? Never give them the iTunes password, use a strong password and if possible only download directly from your home PC/Mac into iTunes, not on the iPod/iPhone/iPad device itself. Then synch new purchases to their device. Their device should preferably never ever see the password, therefore no caching etc.
  21. Don't hook your credit card up to iTunes, buy iTunes credit instead and load it as you need it - easy fix. Parents responsibility - make the kids play outside
  22. Why are 9 year olds even playing with these bloody things?. Get them outside playing with their friends.