Haven’t we been here before?
The Daily Mail has today run yet another story of a child racking up a overdraft-smashing bill on a free-to-play iOS title. This time it’s The Simpsons Tapped out, in which eight-year-old Theo Rowland-Fry spent £980 on virtual donuts.
“It was only when my wife rang me and asked where all the money had gone that we found out what had happened,” Theo’s dad said. “She got a statement and saw there were more than 100 purchases on iTunes for between £1.50 and £75, from the middle of January and the beginning of this month.
“We received no emails alerting us to what was happening. If you buy something on Amazon you have to agree to pay for it, enter additional information to pay and then get a confirmation email so you can keep track. With the iPad it seems to be a free-for-all.
“I appreciate children are their target audience but it is not right and there needs to be specific controls in place to stop this from happening. I dread to think how many people this has happened to and how many it has happened to and they don't even know about it because perhaps it was £50 and they didn't realise.”
Apple has already agreed to refund the cash.
Dad added: “iPads can be great for keeping them occupied but there has to be more control.” Which presumably means the in-built parental control settings?
That is, unless he’s too busy to take those precautions. “We got Theo and his sister Evie an iPad to help with their schoolwork but Theo's is away in a drawer at the moment,” dad said. “We just don't have time to monitor what they are playing.”
If that’s true then perhaps the kids shouldn’t have been given their own iPad in the first place.