Parents stuck with hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in “surprise” expenses, from App Stores is not a new story. Today’s post How To: Limit Google App Shopping, goes over steps to protect yourself from these surprise purchases
From 2013, when Apple had to settle with parents to recently where a family got stuck with $13k worth of Xbox purchases, this story just keeps repeating itself. .Back when those of us who were born in the 70s or earlier were kids, if our parents wanted to keep us out of their hair, they would put us in front of the TV. These day’s you see 3 year olds walking around with a phone or tablet.
With kids having technology at their finger prints, parents have gotten expected surprises. This post is not about the “what age is to young” discussion. This post is to help parents, aunts, uncles, etc. who give a kid their tablet or smart phone. If you choose to hand a child a device, you are responsible for anything they do. The following is how you can protect yourself on the Google Play Store.
Limit Google Play Store
One of the first things you should do is add a password requirement to any app store purchases, that way someone else can’t purchase anything on your device (remember that you can purchase apps, music, movies, and books from the Google Play Store)
To add (or check) if password is turned on
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Select the menu button, it’s the 3 lines on Top Left of your device
- Select the settings choice in the menu list
- On the settings page, look for and click on the “Require authentication for purchases”
- Now select, For All Purchases thought through Google Play on this device.
There are other options as well, but selecting all purchases is the most secure way to go.
Use A Pre-Paid Card
Another option for those with older kids is use a pre-paid card on the device. There are numerous pre-paid cards out on the market these days. The one I can recommend, as it seems to be simple to reload, and has virtually no fees, is Bluebird from American Express. The Bluebird card is available at Walmart, and who doesn’t seem to live near a Walmart.
That way you can start teaching the kids responsibility, and also understanding of staying within their limits. The kids can learn, “Do I really want to spend my money now”. You could use things like chores as ways they earn money that gets added to their card. I say this for kids, but seeing how some adults spend money, this could be a good idea for some adults as well.
If you give anyone any of your devices, you need to pay attention. You are responsible for their actions on your device. By adding the password requirement or using a pre-paid card, you are just adding layers to assist you in monitoring your devices.
- Tech Geek and More – Password Protect App Store Purchases (2016)
- ABC News – Apple to settle with Parents
- NBC Boston – Parents stuck with $13K in Xbox charges
- Walmart – Bluebird Card Release Info
How To: Limit Google App Shopping