I read an article today with interest. The shortened version is that people have been faced with huge mobile bills due to their children making in app purchases.
The report goes on to specify a particular case whereby somone was charged for 54 separate purchases and received a bill totalling some £3,200. Fortunately for the person in question the amount was refunded and no long term damage was done.
The reported episode is not the only report of people receiving extortionate bills due to their children purchasing apps or using in app purchases and there is general outrage at the fact that Apple, Microsoft and Google don’t put into place safeguards to stop this from happening directly into the OS.
There are two points that need to be raised here.
Firstly, there are technical steps that can be taken to prevent such things from happening. With iOS there is an option to turn off in-app purchases and within Android you can simply put the device into Airplane mode thus preventing any connections.
This however in my opinion is not the way to deal with the issue.
The fact is that the responsibility for app purchases falls completely and totally not with Apple, Google, Microsoft or Blackberry but with the bill payer. If the bill payers children, cousins, mother in law or uncle Tom Cobley run up a huge bill then that is an can only be one persons responsibility.
As a comparison, if a child turns the central heating up to its highest setting and leaves it on all day, is it then the fault of the utility company when a huge gas bill arrives? Should British Gas build in safeguards to stop it from happening? Of course not, it’s ridiculous to even suggest it so why are mobile phones any different?
The responsibility for ANY purchase made through an app must fall solely with the bill payer and this means that rather than live in the “It’s someone else’s fault” world that seems to have developed, parents need to take some responsibility.
If you give your iPhone, iPad, Android or whatever mobile device to your child to play with then you should know exactly what they are doing…..I’m fairly certain that any responsible parent would not give free reign of an internet browser to a 5 or 6 year old so why is a mobile device any different.
So for those people that want to lay the blame elsewhere or expect someone else to prevent your kids from spending money, step up and take some responsibility – after all, its your money that is being spent!!