UK children’s unauthorized in-app purchases could total over £30m monthly

Wednesday, 8th May 2013 15:31 GMT By Alex Donaldson

Unauthorized in-app purchases by British children charged to parents’ accounts without their knowledge could total a whopping £30.9 million monthly according to a new study.

According to the survey, reported by the Guardian (via Polygon) and funded by Microsoft, 28% of parents in a group of 2000 reported that they had experienced the nasty surprise of children making in-app purchases – a good chunk very likely in games – without permission.

83% of those said they’d suffered from “bill shock” – a melodramatic term if ever there was one – and saw an increase in their monthly bills.

The £30.9 million number is reached by Microsoft finding an average claimed bill increase of £34.18 from those surveyed – and across the population of Britain that could add up to as much as £30.9 million.

The survey also reveals that 17% of parents share their device passwords with their children, and 23.5% don’t set passwords at all. Parents also reported kids hijacking their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or changing or deleting phone software.

It’s worth keeping in mind that this study was commissioned by Microsoft as a PR exercise to advertise the ‘Kids Corner’ software that’s bundled in with Windows Phone 8 phones – but it’s an interesting study nonetheless. Parents: lock your phones!



  1. ps3fanboy

    when the parents lock their phones… it will kill this robbery called mobile gaming for good.. so come on stupid parents, get smart!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Kerrig

    The easiest way to stop your children from buying apps and other stuff on your phone or tablet, is to delete your credit card information.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Samoan Spider

    @2 Or teach your kids to be responsible with money and use a pre-paid credit card with a small balance for Android or iOS. Much better than to say no entirely. The life lesson I learnt which was a long time ago before any of this crap was ‘when its gone its gone’ and I don’t see that as a bad lesson.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Christopher Jack

    Or make it harder than simply pressing accept without having to know any of the cc details.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Kerrig

    @3: I totally agree with you. As i said it’s the easiest way not the best way. ;)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. RocknRolla

    it is not that hard the child has to press buy and it is done ffs..

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DrDamn

    Conversely it not that hard to tick the box that says Disable in-app purchases. :)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. NightCrawler1970

    Oh well shit happens, cant believe that a parent give a 12 year old a Iphone…. those kids dont need a smart phone, a jitterbug is good enough..

    #8 2 years ago
  9. zinc

    Simple rule:

    Never ever give your kids a device that can buy ANYTHING at a touch of a button.


    #9 2 years ago

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