Lessons For Parents on In-App Purchases
It is very rare these days to find a mobile app without in-app purchases. They are set to appear at an opportunistic moment in order to coerce the user to make the purchase. This has proven to be a real headache for most parents. Children knowingly or unknowingly use their parentn6xi10vr_sdfsfpss credit cards to purchase these virtual goods only for parents to find a large bill on their credit cards and phone service. It is therefore important for parents to understand everything they can about in-app purchases in order to know how to control or stop them completely.
What are in-app purchases?
In-app purchases are sales that take place within a particular mobile application. The goods purchased are usually virtual goods such as diamonds, chests, swords, extra lives and so much more. In some cases, an in-app purchase is required to remove ads so that a user can enjoy the ad-free version of an app. Developers have found these to be a profitable way to make money even from free apps. Users using free apps often have to make in-app purchases in order to enhance the app experience or even access extra content.
What happens when an in-app purchase is made?
Normally, in order to purchase a certain item within a game or to unlock more features in an application, the money needed to buy it is usually indicated. For example, a game might offer players the ability to purchase 300 gaming coins for $2.99. Once the user agrees to make this purchase, they may be asked for a password. After entering the password, the amount is charged directly to their bank account or credit card. For this to work, the apps have a merchant credit card system that allows for the transactions to take place. Sometimes, in-app purchases are made using a special kind of virtual currency. Developers find coding these virtual currencies easier than dealing with actual money. However, in the long run, the virtual currencies have to be converted into real money and this money comes from either end-users or sponsors.
What can parents do to prevent their children from making unauthorized in-app purchases?
There are a few things that parents can do. These include:
- Setting restrictions and passwords on in-app purchases.
- Completely disable in-app purchases on any of your devices.
- Download parental control apps to monitor and restrict usage of children.
- Substitute credit cards with gift cards to minimize the amount of money that can be spent.
To restrict in-app purchases on any of your Apple devices, you can:
1. Disable the in-app purchases: Go to Settings >> General >> Restrictions >> Enable Restrictions >> Set your restrictions passcode >> Require Password Immediately.
By following these instructions, a password will be requested every time an in-app purchase is about to be made.
2. Set a 15 minutes restriction on in-app purchases: Go to Settings >> General >> Restrictions >> Enable Restrictions >> Set your restrictions passcode >> Switch off in-app purchases (Move the button from color green to color white).
To restrict in-app purchases on your Android devices:
Go to Google Play Store >> Google Play Store Menu >> Settings >> Choose Require Password Changes >> for all purchases through Google Play on this device >> Enter a password >> Tap on Ok.
Doing this prompts the user to enter the password every time they are about to make an in-app purchase. As an added bonus, you are allowed to see whether an app has any in-app purchases before you even install it.
What happens if an unauthorized in-app purchase is made?
If a parent finds that their child has made an unauthorized in-app purchase, they can apply for a refund. However, you should be aware that applying for a refund is very difficult and time consuming. Once an unauthorized purchase is made, you should contact the app store involved as soon as possible. If the app purchases were billed to your mobile phone bill you should contact your mobile service provider to discuss the matter. If a credit-card was used for the in-app purchases, contact your bank as soon as possible.
Remember, once you set the passwords, do not give them to your children. You should also tell them to always seek your consent before making any in-app purchases. If your older kids violate this policy, have them pay for the in-app purchases from their own allowances. This will make them more responsible the next time round.