There was an article that was getting passed around today from the BBC about a 5 year old boy from Bristol in the UK. His name was Danny Kitchen and he racked up some extraordinary charges in about 15 minutes of play on an iPad. Here’s what happened. Danny was playing on the iPad and his father entered the iTunes password, so that his son could download a free game. Apparently, the boy started making in app purchases, which eventually ended up totaling £1,700 (over $2,500).
Even though the parents received emails about the charges, it wasn’t until they were called by their credit card company that they realized that the charges were real. Luckily for them, Apple refunded them their money after the parents contacted them.
Where to begin? *sigh* People might say that this is the fault of the maker of the app with the in app purchases. Or that it was the fault of Apple. I believe that it is firmly the fault of the parents. Apple devices have the ability to turn off in app purchases and the ability to set it so that purchases require a password all the time. Both of those options can be put behind parental restrictions that are locked behind a password. If either of those things were done or if the parents had turned off wi-fi, they wouldn’t have incurred £1,700 in credit card charges.
My main take away is that people don’t always behave responsibly. They often take the easy way out in a situation. As a parent, I get that kids can sometimes wear you out and that you want a break. So, you hand them an iPad to play some educational games on for awhile. Since it’s a hassle (a very tiny one) to toggle restrictions on and off when appropriate, people might be tempted to not bother. This story is what happens when you do that. Unfortunately, people apply the same sort of laziness and lack of judgement in other areas of their lives. We all have to fight that urge and put in the extra effort to do things the right way. In the end, we’ll all be better off if we do. These parents were lucky. You might not be.