Today we are confronted with very different stories about two boys and their love of apps.
At the mere age of 17, Nick D’Aloisio has sold the Summly app that was born in his bedroom to Yahoo! for a reported £19 million. His city financier father and lawyer mother must be so proud.
On the other hand, Cameron Crossan’s father is probably not so happy after discovering his 13 year old has racked up a bill of £3,700 after ‘innocently’ purchasing add-ons for free games. He has reported his son for fraud in order to get a crime reference number and have any chance of getting the credit card payments refunded.
So far, Apple has not issued a refund. I imagine they will now be under pressure to do so. But should they really have to? It’s not the first time that this has happened. Last year a six year old boy left his grandparents with a £2,000 bill after using an app with expensive add-ons. Apple did, on that occasion, refund the money.
Don’t get me wrong. If either of my children successfully downloaded £3,700 of apps on my credit card, I would be looking for any way to recoup the money too. Given the circumstances, I might even be tempted to put them on ebay. Although I doubt we’d get that much.
But unfortunately, just like the ‘small print’ in those documents that we probably never read, it’s down to us to protect ourselves. Our responsibility alone.
So for all you Apple users, here’s how to safeguard your iPhone or iPad before handing it over into those eager, young hands:
- Create a restrictions passcode
- Turn ‘In-App Purchases’ to off
- Change ‘Require Password’ to ‘Immediately’
Whilst you’re at it, I’d probably turn off ‘iTunes’ and ‘Installing Apps’ too.
It only takes a minute and it might save you thousands.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned.