Children are tempted to buy in games on their smartphones. In this way, you ensure that they do not spend money unnecessarily.
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Children’s in-game purchases
The Consumers’ Association sounds the alarm because, according to the organization, free games put children under pressure to make purchases. These games can be downloaded for free from the Play Store, but then you need to spend money to actually play.
For that purpose, the Consumers’ Association has made a sample check of four games that are popular among children. It’s a small sample of what’s on offer in the Play Store, but it says something about some of the different ways in which this pressure is exerted.
Roblox and Minecraft
For example, Roblox. “Playing for free is not an option,” says the Consumers Association. “For example, 2 Players Girl Tycoon offers an outfit change within 40 seconds, which is necessary to continue playing. Resort cannot be played without paying either. To leave the cage the player starts in, he must first purchase ‘temporary walk’.”
According to the Consumers’ Association, the games Brawl Stars and Clash Royale put a clock on the screen that puts children under pressure. This makes shopping progress attractive. MineCraft is also mentioned, where players must take out a subscription to share their created world with others.
What the Consumers’ Association does
The Consumers’ Association wonders whether these tactics to get children to pay are allowed, and therefore the Danish Consumer and Markets Agency has been informed. “You shouldn’t expose children to these kinds of sneaky tricks,” says Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumers’ Association. “You can’t possibly expect them to resist that.”
You can do that as a parent
As a parent, you can handle this in different ways. For example, you cannot enable your children to spend money, or explain exactly what is going on.
1. Use the Family Link app
Google has introduced the Family Link app to, among other things, solve this problem. With the app, you can set rules for your child’s smartphone use. Assuming your child also has an Android device.
Via the app, you can, among other things, set a daily limit or remotely lock the device. You can also ensure that children must have your permission for every purchase. Then you can judge for yourself whether the purchase is a good one.
Google Family Link
2. Talk to your children about these purchases
In addition, it is wise to talk to your children about in-game purchases. It goes both ways. First of all, it is good to clarify that free games are not always free and the ways in which the creators of these games entice you to spend money.
But it’s also wise to listen to your children, why they want to spend money on a game. Because there is of course nothing wrong with spending money on something you really enjoy. In the past, you might have spent money on toys or even games.
3. Let children learn
In addition, children also have to learn to handle money themselves, by sometimes making mistakes. Make sure they pay for the in-app purchases themselves, and if things go wrong and they have less pocket money than expected at the end of the month, they’ll think twice next time until they make another purchase in a game.
More apps for kids
There are tons of apps in the Play Store that are specially made for kids. In this way, you can install these streaming services with content specifically for children. And there are also all kinds of creative and educational apps. Many of these apps also have money to spend, so be aware.