If there are other parents out there whose children have run up huge bills playing games on their smartphones – or you want to prevent that happening – I thought you might appreciate this blog. It was written by my 13-year-old son, Zachary. He fell into a trap that allows kids to make unauthorised ‘inApp’ purchases within games that are advertised as ‘free’. And then have mobile companies charge parents. Oh, they quote legalese but they know it’s shabby. And they know we know they know. I believe Google has already refunded $19 million to families in the States. If I have my way, they will be paying us back too. But meanwhile we thought some good should come of this and Zach has written the following message as a ‘heads up’ for both parents and kids.
I’ve recently had an experience
I made the mistake of spending a massive total of £180 with the in-app purchasing system on clash of clans. The details were misleading and I didn’t understand the billing process was linked to my O2 account which is also linked to my parents credit cards, so i ended up owing my parents £180 which has meant that in order to pay them back i have to not have pocket-money for an entire year. I’m so annoyed with myself and the big companies who have ripped me off and other unsuspecting kids off as well.
Things that I have learned:
*to be more careful with money online or not to spend money on your smart phone at all
*to always know what I’m spending my money on
*think to yourself before you buy something online “do i really need this?”
*you always have to aware that big online companies aren’t going to sympathise with you if you end up saying to them that you didn’t know that you didn’t know that you were spending real money
*i learned that i must always be prepared to face the consequences if your actions backfire
Have you had a similar experience? Do you have any advice to add to Zach’s? What else should we be aware of in this increasingly cash-free, click-to-purchase world our kids are growing up in?