Has your child racked up a sky-high iPad bill? Parents, take some responsibility

Only an irresponsible parent allows unlimited iPad access. Children are not allowed to put items in supermarket trolleys without permission - the principle is identical.

Share
Related Topics

Any parent daft enough to allow an eight year old to play unsupervised with a £400 iPad deserves all he gets. So no, I am not wasting any sympathy on Lee Neale whose daughter Lily ran him up a £4,000 bill by downloading ‘freemium’ games.

Just as you should know where your children are and who they are with so, as a parent, you should have full control over your child’s access to electronic media. Laissez-faire and giving into peer pressure - aka wails of ‘But all my friends …’ is lousy parenting. You have to be prepared to take a stand.

And not checking your bank account regularly is hardly sensible either. It took Lily four months to rack up that bill between March and July. Her father was alerted to the problem only when his bank froze the account.

Apple refused to give Mr Neale a refund telling him – not unreasonably – that ‘all purchases made on the iTunes store are final.’ The child had, after all, used her father’s password having watched him key it in when downloading free games for her. The problem arose when she started ordering extras for games such as Campus Life, My Horse, Injustice, Hay Day, Gymnastics Events and Smurfs’ Village.

This is not an isolated case. A Windows Phone UK survey earlier this year found that parents are forking out around £30 million a year for unauthorised downloading of material on smartphones and tablet computers such as iPads.

It’s clever marketing and the Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation. The problem is that the child is playing a free game until a pop-up, or other offer, appears which can be bought with a single click and charged to a credit card stored on the device. Arguably the children don’t always realise that these items cost ‘real money.’

As usual most parents and adults are underestimating children. Parents should be teaching their children that obtaining things – even virtually – charged to their parent’s account without permission is wrong. Yes, wrong. It isn’t difficult to understand.

In orderly families children are not allowed to order extras in restaurants or put items in supermarket trolleys without permission. The principle is identical.

And as for anger with the companies who market these costly add-ons to children, well perhaps there should be tighter rules, but if parents assertively ensured that their children didn’t purchase then, without customers, the business would collapse. This is within the control of parents – but they will have to get off their mobile phones, get their eyes off the TV screen and take some notice of what their children are actually doing. It’s no good whingeing that it’s someone else’s fault when the children are a few feet away from you, largely ignored until you get the bill.

I’d keep any child of mine well away from these time wasting games anyway. All the evidence shows that the children who go on to do best and achieve most in life are the ones who read books in their spare time. So hide the iPad and take them to a bookshop or library. It’s a lot cheaper.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea