Magazine article Work & Family Life

Some 'Free' Apps Can Be Expensive

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Some 'Free' Apps Can Be Expensive

Article excerpt

Q We learned the hard way that one of the so-called "free" apps our daughter downloaded became very costly. She got caught up in a popular simulation game that just grew and grew. Our bill for her in-app buys was an unwelcome surprise!

- M.J., West Palm Beach

A Yes, those "fremium" apps have become more and more prevalent and are a major source of revenue for app developers. Here are some tips from our friends at Common Sense Media for ways to prevent kids from racking up big bills with in-app buys.

MIND YOUR PINs AND PASSWORDS. You can require a PIN to make in-app purchases at the Android Market or Amazon Appstore. On iPhones, you need a password to download apps from iTunes. Keep your passwords to yourself.

TURN IT OFF. You can disable in-app buys entirely if you want to. Just use a restrictions passcode that your kid doesn't know and can't guess. Contact your mobile service provider to learn more about your options for restricting purchases.

GO WITH A GIFT CARD OR PREPAID CARD. This will allow your child to make purchases but not go wild. Letting kids know how much they have to spend should encourage them to budget wisely.

BE AWARE ALSO that some in-app buys are truly worth it. For $ 1 or so, an in-app purchase might allow kids to go "ad-free" on a game or activity they enjoy, and it becomes a better user experience. …

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