Kids and iPads: Fish Bucks Are NOT Free

BlogHer Original Post

I'm now the proud owner of $20 worth of virtual fish for a virtual aquarium.

Why would I make such a purchase you ask?

I didn't.

My five-year old daughter did on the family iPad.

My little bff's

Yes, it's just that easy to make purchases in the App store, and even children can figure out how to add more veggies to their virtual farms, buy the updated version of Angry Birds, and yes, even fill cyber fish tanks with loads upon loads upon loads of fish.

Because let me tell you, $20 buys A LOT of pixel fish.

Of course this is all my fault. I did not turn off the online feature. I did not disable purchases. And just minutes before my daughter's big "click," I had entered my password to download a new app.

Totally my fault.

But as it turns out, I'm not the only parent who's found out the hard way that some of these games cost REAL money and not all Apps are .99cents.

Mike Rohde's son spent $190 in virtual fish goods:

"Today, iTunes enabled inadvertent in-app currency purchases via my 7 year old son, while he played the PlayMesh Fishies app on our iPad.

Read that again — from my 7 year old son.

It Started with a Free App

The story starts when we downloaded PlayMesh Fishies from the iTunes app store for Nathan to play with. It seemed innocent enough — a free iPhone app that let him create a virtual fish tank. Looked like fun.
When Nathan called me over, asking if he could buy some pearls for his new fish tank to get more items..."

And then there are the kids who are a bit older and wiser as to how the system works.

Mollierosev tweets:

My parents + little bro have a constant iTunes war going on. He buys music, they yell, he waits a few days and buys again.

But I think Issascrazyworld had the solution:

$25 bucks on puzzles on the ipad from one kid. CD on an iTouch from another. I changed passwords & put them on Plane mode.

Brilliant. I'm off to change my iTunes password, put the iPad in plane mode, and have a nice long talk with my kids about what to do when that blue screen pops up...and then after we'll tend to our incredibly expensive fake fish.

Politics & News Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest

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