Parent Warning!!

Don’t let FREE app-based games blow your budget

Interactive games have weaselled their way into our culture – a culture of ‘digital almost anything’.

A 2018 Digital Australia Report states that 97% of homes with children have computer games, 80% of game households have more than one game device and 65% have three or more.

Thought that app was free?

Many app-based games are free to download but there is often a lure for children to progress or access the best parts of a game through in-app purchases.

Take Fortnite as an example. It tempts players with in-app purchases for ‘skins’ or outfits and customised weapons by encouraging spending on what characters are wearing and using.

There was one example where a seven year old child had spent about $1,000 on in-app purchases including paying to be upgraded to new levels. The parents had no idea until they got the bill. Even the child didn’t realise how much was spent at the time.

Avoiding in-app purchase blowout

Here are a few tips to prevent accidental in-app purchases:

• Understand how the games work – read reviews and look into the possible types of purchase •

Set rules around how much (if any) a child can spend on what they want to buy

• Turn off in-app purchases or change the settings so a password is required for every purchase and parents are notified each time a purchase is about to be made

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has further information on how to prevent unauthorised in-app purchases, how to restrict purchases on Apple and Android devices and how to take action. Obtaining a refund for unauthorised in-app purchases can be difficult but there are actions you can take for refunds and complaints.

Take control of your family gaming and free up your budget for much more worthy causes.