$1,400 spent on Smurfs Village Purchases! Parents Beware of “Free App’s” on Your iPad and iPhone.

Online games are so popular and most games also are also available in App form for iPad and iPhone. If you are a gamer you may have heard of virtual supplies like ammunition, fruits and vegetables, online cash and other fake ‘currency’  but if you haven’t, you better ask your kids if they have because many games, (which are at first free), being played on iPad and iPhone charge for these additional virtual items.

Just ask the mother of an 8-year-old who spent $1,400 on Smurfs Village purchases, or the parents of a 9-year-old who spent $200 on game currency while playing Zombie Café and City Story. These “in-app” purchases are necessary if the kids want to succeed and prolong the game, but the kids obviously don’t have any idea of the cost.

In the wake of dozens of complaints Apple has enforced stricter procedures but that doesn’t mean all the parents are off the hook for paying the money spent by their children. To be fair, Apple has worked with some parents and eliminated the charges, but there is also a lawsuit against Apple because some parents believe this is an example of a company trying to trick its customers, in this case kids, into spending exorbitant amounts of money.

And you could say ‘where are the parents’ during all of this, but some parents helped their kids with the games initially but had no idea that once in the game the kids would be asked to purchase additional supplies at outrageous prices – a wagon of Smurfberries for $99.99!

To avoid this undesirable expense change your default setting:

Tap Settings on your device’s home screen, then tap general, then tap restrictions. You can tap enable restrictions and enter a pass code. This pass code will prevent restrictions from being disabled without your permission. After that scroll down to the Allowed Content section and switch the In-App Purchases option to OFF. Enter your restrictions pass code if prompted.

In the future if you want your child to purchase certain in-app items you can go through the same process and simply turn the option to ON, but remember to reset it again after the purchases are made. No parent wants to pay hundreds of dollars for virtual supplies that bring absolutely no value to the real world. After all, it’s not virtual money that’s being wasted.