macworld news antenna

Danger of in-app purchases by children

The BBC mentions the case of a six-year-old boy who has become fond of the Tap Resort Party app, in which players build their own holiday park. And in this colorful simulation game that appears to have been designed for children, property is acquired with shells instead of money.

The boy asked his father’s permission to play the game and the father gave it to him, so the boy downloaded the application and began to play quietly. But within days of downloading the free game, the company responsible for the father’s credit card warned him that he had spent a large amount of suspicious money on his iTunes account. The boy had been buying shells in the game of yore and every time he did, the game charged the iTunes account £ 60 (about € 80). The problem is that, although iTunes always asks you to enter the purchase key when you are going to download an application from the AppStore, the account remains open for about 15 minutes, allowing you to make purchases within the application or “in- app ”during that period of time. And of course, every time this is done, the deadline is extended again.

This aspect is really dangerous, so it is important that we do not provide our purchase key in iTunes or our children, and equally, be more aware of them, when we authorize them to download from the AppStore.

Apple, for its part, has stated in this regard that in-app purchases may be subject to parental restrictions, even based on the age rating made by the AppStore itself. It also explains that in-app purchases do not allow the acquisition of material products nor can they be used between applications, it can only be used for digital content or services offered by the application itself.

Let’s hope that Apple will do everything necessary to make that potential danger disappear in the near future, despite its warnings and clarifications.