Don't Waste Your Money: Kids rack up bills on free apps - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: Kids rack up bills on free apps

(Toledo News Now) - A new warning is issued about free applications many of us are downloading on our smart phones and tablets. They may not be free after all.

Almost everyone with a smart phone, tablet, or iPod Touch loves gaming apps, especially kids, because they are free and simple to use. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware that those free apps can run up big charges in the hands of some children.

Free apps, such as Angry Birds, are now loaded on millions of smart phones and iPads. But a growing number of parents are getting hit with huge bills for what is known as "in-app purchases." That is when a child makes purchases when playing games, not realizing that mom and dad will be billed in real money.

According to the website Consumer Affairs, one girl ran up $700 of in-app purchases from DragonVale, a popular kids app. Another spent more than $1,000 buying Smurf Berries from a Smurf app.

From the doesn't that stink file: the way app makers allow kids to spend their parents money. Despite headlines about parents protesting, app vendors are reluctant to change anything, because it is a big money maker.

The good news: Apple was hit with several lawsuits over the last year and now requires an iTunes password to make in-app purchases. However, it is still a problem as many parents give their kids their iTunes password.

Bottom line: Make sure you check any app you let a child use. If it allows purchases, make sure your young one understands not to make any.

That way you don't waste your money.

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