With this in mind we thought it’d be handy to give a bit of a run down about ways to control in-app purchases.
Be in control of the games chosen
It’s important to be aware of some apps offer extra purchases for games in a separate pin protected store, whilst others incorporate the purchases into the game constantly prompting the player to buy more this and that. Other games charge players a one-off fee to download the game rather than have constant in-app purchases. Be aware though that the app stores don’t always segregate games that do have in-app advertising from those that don’t, leaving the player to potentially purchase through the advertiser rather than the app itself.
Use reputable app stores
Be sure you are only downloading apps from reputable app stores as third party sites can install malware resulting in unknown and unwanted extra charges. We recommend Apple App Store for iPhone users and Google Play for Android.
Adjust your settings
If you’re unsure of what settings to have your phone set to for a security purposes, contact your mobile carrier and ask for their advice. They can walk you through adjusting your settings and understanding what happens when you do or do not allow certain actions. Your smartphone or tablet may enable you to disconnect all in-app purchases completely which is a great automated help and allows peace of mind.
Virtual versus real money
Take the opportunity to talk to and educate your kids about virtual money versus real money. When it’s not tangible it can be easy for them to feel like they’re not spending anything and that it doesn’t exist. Maybe associate an in-app purchase with a real deduction in their pocket money to give them a sense of what they’re getting for their money. Or instead of pocket money you could use treats or give a point value to something they enjoy doing perhaps and associate this value with the value of the in-app purchase. Use the app to your advantage.
Set up an alert: Rather than eliminating all access to in-app purchases, you may choose to let the reigns go a little and set up a simple email alert to notify you when a purchase has been made in what app. This will give you the opportunity to discuss spending habits and options with older children before cutting access to in-app purchases all together.
Use security apps to block accidental purchases
Some websites, apps and games will store your credit card information allowing purchases to be made once a pin number is entered. It’s therefore not completely secure. To get around this you can install a security app like Protector for Android devices, Smart AppLock or Perfect App Protector. These apps password protect multiple apps on your phone and provide multiple security settings and locks on photos, games, videos, etc.