How to Prevent Your Kids from Racking Up App Charges

If you’re worried that your kids are downloading paid apps, making purchases within “freemium” apps or charging your account for movies and TV shows, here’s how to set limits and stop in-app purchases. With a few smart tweaks, you can let your kids enjoy their devices without stressing – and you’ll protect yourself from hidden charges, too.

Creating App Guidelines 
The best approach to stopping in-app purchases by your kids is to start moderating their device usage as a whole. Consider setting cell phonerules or having a responsibility agreement with them.

Ask what apps and games are their favorite, and find out whether those apps tempt users with premium upgrades (like buying an ad-free experience) or in-app purchases (like adding extra lives or virtual game tokens). Make sure your kids know what to look for and how to avoid agreeing to those charges when they’re playing.

Watch out for free trials too. If you or your kids download games that automatically charge you after the trial period expires, always set a calendar alert to uninstall or unsubscribe before those charges kick in.

Disabling In-App Purchases on Android Devices
The best way to limit your kids’ access to premium and paid content, while still allowing them to enjoy Smartphones, is to disable in-app purchases entirely. Here’s how to disable in-app purchases for other users.

To disable app purchases on all Androiddevices associated with your account:

  1. Go to the Google Play Store> Menu > Settings > User Controls > Set or Change PIN.
  2. Choose a 4-digit PIN
  3. Check the box for Use password to restrict purchases.

Now, every Android device connected to your Google account will prompt users to enter the PIN any time they try an in-app or other purchase (including movies and new app downloads).

Disabling In-App Purchases on iOS Devices
Apple Smartphones and Tablets also come with options to disable in-app purchases.

  1. Go to Preferences > General> Restrictions > Enable Restrictions
  2. Enter a Restrictions Passcode.
  3. Select whether users can install apps, delete apps or make in-app purchases

If you choose to restrict any of these capabilities, you’ll need to enter your PIN anytime someone tries to install an app or make a purchase on your device.

By the way, these features aren’t just for kids. If you restrict in-app purchases, you’ll be prompted to enter your PIN anytime a “free” app tries to charge you for premium content, so you won’t get charged without knowing. It also adds another level of security incase your device gets lost or stolen, so setting these restrictions is just plain smart.

If you manage your controls properly and passcode-lock in-app purchases, you and your kids can have a happy, healthy relationship with your devices, your bank account and each other.