Children growing up with ubiquitous mobile gadget technology are contributing to the rapid growth of the gaming and computer industries. A little naivete on the part of the parents helps that cash flow expand even faster.
The father of seven-year-old Faisall Shugaa, of West Sussex, England, was shocked to learn that his son had racked up a huge bill on his iPad by playing the Jurassic World online game. The father was also impressed that his son had memorised his father’s Apple ID password.
The young gamer had been secretly playing the Jurassic World game and had also paid for a Dinosaur upgrade with the help of the app’s “Dino Bucks” currency.
The father, Mohamad Shugaa, is an owner of a carpet store. He learned about his son’s habits when his bank account was frozen as he was attempting to make a purchase from a supplier. Later, the father raised the issue with Apple customer support stating, "I'm 32 years old, why would I spend thousands of pounds in buying and upgrading the dinosaur game? Why didn't Apple e-mail me regarding the payment being made for the game?"
The hapless dad also exclaimed, "how much longer would this issue have gone on for?"
Shugaa found that 65 transactions were made between December 13 and December 18 with the Apple store. Shugaa realised that the ambitious youngster had spent some $5,900 to play the Jurassic World game and, at one time, the boy was hemorrhaging cash at $2,000 an hour.
Apple notified the father of the transactions during the month he spent playing the game. The father requested a refund from Apple, claiming that he needed the money for purchasing Christmas gifts for his kids. Initially, Apple refused but eventually agreed, saying it need 10 business days to settle the refund.
Faisall is not the only kid to charge insane bills on a parent’s device while playing an online game. Many other kids have assembled prodigious sums playing games in their parent's mobiles. There are stories regarding kids pressing random buttons, unknowingly making purchases without the parent’s knowledge. Apple has stated that it is the duty of parents to monitor the use of their own devices, and that includes time spent by their children on those devices.
Parents use mobile devices to distract their children, keeping them complacent and quiet. But, as any parent learns sooner or later, when a child is too quiet it means something potentially problematic is brewing.