Expensive Children’s Apps: How to avoid being stung by in-app purchases

When children sleep in the car, you don’t need children’s apps to keep them occupied.

Holidays are almost here – and of course it all starts with a long stressful journey.  How can we keep the little ones occupied? Well, if you’re well prepared you can have the best children’s apps all ready and waiting to keep them happy.

Beware though! If children can make in-app purchases, playing on the smartphone could turn out to be a costly pastime. Read on to find out how to avoid this, but still have fun when out and about.

Children’s apps can help on long journeys

For children, journeys in the car are not always a pleasant experience, especially for the younger ones. We all know them well, the eternal questions from children in the back seat “Are we nearly there? ” And “How long will it be?”. After endless games of “I-Spy” , “licence plates”, and many toilet stops, even the best parental entertainer’s patience wears thin! Even if they managed to sleep for a short time – they still wake up with the endless questions once again. Phew …

Well, if you are prepared and have a tablet and smartphone at the ready, time will fly.

Best children’s apps – time flies by

If you have the best children’s apps installed on your smartphone and tablet, then your car journey may not seem to last so long. But beware. There are a few things to note. Many apparently free children’s apps actually have in-app purchases. The developers of the games try to cash in on thses youngsters being tempted. Free game apps can suddenly become quite expensive. Also free games can have lots of advertising. Here lies the danger of subscription traps and being ripped off. And what an awful end to your holidays, to return to an enormous bill on your doormat.

How to disable in-app purchases

How can you disable in-app purchases? The simplest way is, of course, is to only download games onto the devices for children that have no in-app purchases and advertising. However, it is still possible to restrict buying functions on games with in-app purchases..

With Apple, you can turn in-app purchasing off in the app store. It works through the general settings. With Android, however, you can set up an additional password protection for the PlayStore via the settings so that the children have no access to it. Newer Android tablet versions allow you to set up multiple user profiles. This is practical, because then you can switch off the possibility to purchase for children’s profiles, among other things.

In-app purchases can be expensive

We’ll show you why in-app purchases can be so expensive: children usually do not hesitate when they are in a game like “Clash of Clans” (available for Apple and Android ) or “Fishdom” (for Apple and Android ) to buy a chest with virtual jewels. These jewels will help them to advance in the game. The danger: children get into a habit of doing this and then the money quickly adds up. Consumers and educators have long criticised this manipulation of children and ask why the purchase of virtual goods is allowed at all, in virtual games for children..

The US Senate have had to deal with this problem with “Smurf berries”. In the children’s app “Smurfs” by Capcom, there are virtual fruit to buy, to beautify the Smurf Village. An eight-year-old spent over $1400 to buy the virtual fruit. Whether parents are liable for the costs caused by children can be found in the article Are you responsible for purchases your kids make without your permission? .

How do you find the best children’s apps?

How can you keep your children from spending massive amounts of money on free games? First of all, by downloading only games where there are no in-app purchases . But this is not so easy, if the games should be free at the same time. To help, take a look at the page Best apps for kids. Here, the apps are broken down into category, age, rating, education, free apps etc. On the website you can find many recommendations for games and learning apps, which are divided by age. Here you will surely find many of the best children’s apps that meet your taste and your children’s needs.

Our tip for the best children’s apps

What should you take into consideration? Which are the best children’s apps? Consumers are especially warned about apps that manipulate or financially exploit children’s play. It is therefore not appropriate to play games that ask for a purchase in just a few minutes.

Our tips: Make your children’s devices absolutely child-safe and check which apps are child friendly. Take the time to test the games you want to download onto your smartphone and tablet for your children. Afterwards, you should try them together to see if they like them too.