The 6-year-old boy and girl racked up the huge bill in a single weekend, playing largely unsupervised on their parents’ iPad. Apple sent emails detailing extras for their virtual pets, which quickly added up.
The twins’ father, Ashley Griffiths, was highly annoyed about being stuck with the bill, and he’s calling for tougher legislation on electronic games with apps that allow a person to pay online for extras with the click of a button. "Children don't understand the value of money, they just see it as a way of collecting more pets and clothes for characters in the games,” he said.
Although Ashley has changed his iPad password by now, he adds, “These games are aimed at children and the designers know exactly what's going to happen. There should be measures in place to prevent this, such as asking for credit card details."
I can totally empathize with this dad. It wasn’t until my cable bill arrived that I realized my son had done something similar, ordering online games without my even realizing it! Both of my kids — also twins — are also into playing games on my phone, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this mishap is coming down the pipeline as we speak.
In the U.K., the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) opened an investigation in April of this year to look into tighter security controls on games and apps. The government agency proposed a set of industry guidelines last week to beef up security. Sadly, Ashley Griffith’s wily twins were able to get around the system pretty well, so maybe their dad has a point about needing even tighter controls.
What about your moms, have your kids ever ordered anything online without you realizing it?