Study: Children Cost Parents $41 Million in Unauthorized App Purchases
According to a study of British app purchasing habits, the purchases of applications and add-ons by children of smartphone and tablet owners costs parents in the country an estimated $41 million.
That study, which was commissioned by Microsoft’s Windows Phone UK Team and featured by The Telegraph, comes on the heels of a British couple having received a bill for $2,337 after letting their son spend a few minutes playing with an application on their Apple iPad.
According to the Kitchens –the couple with the high wireless bill, they’d given their five year old their password because they thought the application that he was using was free of charge.
The study concluded that eight year olds were the most likely to run up the highest charges on their parents smartphones and tablets and usually averaged about $82 in purchases. It also found that more than half of children at the age four or below had purchased an application on their parent’s devices without permission.
Lastly, the study concluded that unauthorized application purchases by their children had led to an average increase of $46 in British parent’s monthly wireless bills. The survey’s numbers are based on the responses of more than 2,000 British parents who were surveyed by OnePoll last month.
This isn’t the first time news of kids purchasing applications has made headlines. Apple recently settled a lawsuit that was brought against the company because it made in-app purchases accessible without asking for a password. For example, though it wasn’t named in the lawsuit, FreshWater Aquarium allowed users to purchase the application for just $.99. Users could then purchase more exciting fish through the application itself without being prompted for a password.
While Apple has since fixed the loop hole, it hasn’t dropped its requirement that parents give their credit credentials to Apple when creating an iTunes account.
For its part, Windows Phone 8 features an option called Kids Corner that completely restricts the use of the operating system’s settings, and app marketplace when enabled. It also allows parents to pick and choose what music, videos, photos, and applications their children have access to while allowing the child to customize the feature’s background and Live Tile colors.