A 2nd-grader managed to rack up a $1,400 bill for her parents over break while playing the “Smurfs Village”, a Farmville-esque iPad game, reports the Washington Post. Like many of these app-based games, the game is free but you can purchase in-app upgrades, with real money, to speed your progress. In this case, you can get a “bucket of snowflakes” for $19 or a “wagon of smurfberries” for $99. Needless to say, her mother became quite blue in the face.
“I thought the app preyed on children,” she told the Washington Post. “Note that the Smurf app states it is for ages 4-plus.”
After complaining to Apple, the mother was eventually able to get a refund.
This is why parents shouldn’t give out their iTunes passwords to their children. Parents also need to educate kids that some of these games are designed like mousetraps and the in-app upgrades can cost actual cash. Also, if you notice your kid playing one video game for hours and hours, it’s time to institute some time limits on their device use.
Besides, the whole idea of competing to have the best Smurf house with the best Smurf garden that you pay money to upgrade seems very anti-Smurf to me. I thought the Smurfs were a bunch of free-love commies and everyone was equal? I guess everything’s different now that the wall came down…
In-app purchases in iPad, iPhone, iPod kids’ games touch off parental firestorm [Washington Post via Switched]