The Telegraph reported this morning that two six-year-olds racked up a £1000 bill through in app purchases because they knew their parents iTunes password. And of course the parents are placing the blame entirely on the developers of apps that include in-app purchases.
iOS has built in parental controls that allow for restrictions on downloading apps and when a password is required (either every 15 minutes, or always) among other settings. The problem is, there is no mention of these controls in the initial setup process, presumably to keep setup as simple as possible.
Parents may not be aware these settings exist and therefore just assume they can’t restrict access to purchases or other features of the operating system. For reference, restrictions are in settings:
The parents of the twins claim they knew the password for the account:
…his children knew the password after using the iPad for schoolwork and games.
“Using the iPad for schoolwork”? In what way would that involve needing the password for the iTunes account? So because they couldn’t be bothered to check what their children were purchasing, they just gave them the password. Perhaps give them the pin number to your credit card so they can go and do their own shopping? They’re six years old.
This is not the first time this has happened. Back in March an eight-year-old spent £980 on The Simpsons: Tapped Out. The parents responded by saying:
I appreciate children are their target audience but it is not right and there needs to be specific controls in place to stop this from happening.
Specific controls? Perhaps like the ones in settings?
In both cases, Apple refunded the money to the parents as a gesture of good will. Jim Darymple nails it in this peice entitled “It’s not Apple’s Job to be a parent to your kids“:
The simple fact is, as parents, it’s up to us to monitor what our kids do with technology or any toy. If you choose not to use the included controls because they are a hassle, then that’s your choice. You made that decision.
Parents: take some fucking responsibility, stop blaming everyone else and use some common sense instead of letting your kids do whatever the hell they want.