Mobile Phones Guide
Five-Year-Old Racks Up US$2500 Bill on In-App Purchases
Parents are wary of handing their young children iPhones or iPads for fear of their children accidentally breaking the devices. But it seems there's another growing concern among parents; children are making far too many accidental in-app purchases.
The most recent case sees five-year-old Danny Kitchen spend a total of £1,710.43 (US$2571.12) on in-game add-ons. Danny's parents', Greg and Sharon Kitchen, handed their iPad to their five-year-old when he asked to download a game, Zombies vs Ninja. They agreed because Danny had told them the app was free. Unknown to the Kitchens, while the app was free, in-game items and add-ons were not.
Busy tending to the guests in their home, Mrs Kitchen first found out about her son's in-app purchases the following day when she saw emails from iTunes notifying her of the purchases. Thinking it was a mistake, Danny's mother only realised what had happened when her credit card company gave her a call to ask about the payments. Among the items Danny purchased were 333 keys at 69.99 pounds each, five lots of 9000 darts at 69.99 pounds each, seven lots of 333 ecstasy bombs at 69.99 pounds each.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, Mrs Kitchen told her son to "get ready for bed and run and hide before daddy got home", while Danny's siblings told him that they could have bought a house with the amount of money he had spent.
Apple has told the Kitchens that they will refund the money spent though the Kitchens were upset that it was so easy for a child to unknowingly spend so much on a free app, with Mrs Kitchen saying that such incidents were common. "Loads of parents in the playground said similar things had happened to them but for a lot less money. I can't believe he was able to spend so much money, " she said.
To prevent such incidents from happening, an Apple spokesperson said that it was important that parents do not share keep their pass codes with their children, while they can also turn off the ability to purchase from iTunes and as well as making in-app purchases.