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Five year old racks up £1,700 of in-app purchases on an iPad in 15 minutes

When Mrs Kitchen of Bristol gave her son the password for her iTunes account in order to download a free game she didn’t expect to be paying anything, but little Danny Kitchen had other ideas – he racked up over £1,700 of in-app purchases.

Within fifteen minutes the boy had spent close to £2,000 on upgrades and other items that were purchasable within the game, which itself was free to download. The case isn’t the first of its kind but it does highlight the need for parents to lock down purchasing restrictions on their gadgets, which children are always fond of playing with.

The toddler’s parents tapped in the App Store password for what they thought would be a free game download, but through playing the game multiple credit card transactions for £69.99 were made without the parents’ knowing.

Thankfully Apple has refunded Mrs Kitchen in full, for which we’re sure she’s very grateful. Previous cases have not seen their accidental payments refunded, but it seems that Apple is becoming aware of the likelihood of the issue and is showing sympathy.

Free apps that require real cash to unlock characters, items, levels and various other things are becoming incredibly popular amongst app developers, who can reap higher download numbers by offering a free app in the first place but then get paid when users want more from an app. A fine example is The Simpsons: Tapped Out, where users can exchange real money for in-game currency (coins and donuts) to help them progress with the game.

For parents wary of their children downloading and buying on their gadgets without their knowing, we’d recommend a couple of steps to ensure there’s no sting. Firstly and perhaps most obviously, don’t give out your password to your child. Secondly, with Apple gadgets you can restrict purchases on apps with relative ease – Open Settings > General > Restrictions and then turn on the restriction for the App Store.

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