Life Lessons

Bait apps make kids into 'whales'

If your kids play games on mobile devices, there’s a good chance they’re able to purchase items without your knowledge. They are called “bait apps” in class-action lawsuits. And kids who persistently spend their parents’ money on extras are dubbed “whales," a term traditionally used by casinos to describe high rollers.

Many parents say it’s far too easy to do and it can be costly. In 2017, Amazon agreed to refund $70 million worth of app purchases made by children! So how can you stop your kids from spending your hard-earned money? 

In a recent report, investigators found kids spent millions of dollars on Facebook games in just a few months. One teen spent more than $6500 in just two weeks!

So, how can you stop your child from going on a game spending spree? If you have an apple device, “Ask to Buy” is a set of controls that requires parents to approve each app purchase on their child’s device.

Google offers a tool called “Family Link,” which includes a setting for parental approval for app spending.

Amazon has “Freetime” which automatically blocks minors from content inside its app store.

For Facebook games, you’ll have to go into your child’s account and remove your payment method.

And while these methods can help curb the spending remember to talk to your child about them understanding what making a purchase looks like. 

Also watch out for Alexa! If it is connected to your Amazon account, your kid can make purchases just by saying “Alexa order…”

Amazon recently refunded one mother her money after her two girls ordered $5,000 worth of items such as iPhones, iPads and stuffed animals! Luckily, this setting can be turned off.


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