It’s enough to worry about hackers stealing credit card numbers, although most sites have strong protection in place to prevent that now. However, the thieves might be living in your own house. Games in particular encourage kids to play more and thus order more. Think your kids are too young to figure out how to purchase online? Think again.
According to Quentin Fottrell writing for MarketWatch.com, some companies are now setting up sales so that every credit card user must enter the password for the card before the purchase is final. Hopefully this will curtail the thousands of dollars of “youth-purchased” goods that the companies will not refund.
Similar cases and research into children’s online gaming habits indicate that minors are spending more time (and money) on mobile devices. Last year, Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.11% agreed to refund customers a minimum of $32.5 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed for millions of dollars of charges incurred by kids’ mobile apps without parental consent.
It is certainly true that the children don’t have a clue how much they are spending. It seems to me that there should be a limit put on purchases made at one time, if not by the online company at least by the credit card company.
How do these children get access to the credit cards? While everyone is careful with ID and car keys when they are out of the house, leaving a purse or jacket around the house is a common phenomena. Mom and Dad are sleeping in – you get the idea. Kids have watched their parents shop with cards. It’s tempting to try to shop online – like another game.
So now you have been warned. We like you to shop online, but just remember to keep close watch on those cards. Likewise, it’s time to teach children what adult things they can and can’t use. Why not make it onto a game, like Disney’s “The Great Piggy Bank Adventure” which teaches children about finances? Here is an iTunes downloadable version.