Looking through Google’s Play Store, you’re sure to find myriad apps that claim to be free. Usually, these apps have in-app purchases to make the experiences a little sweeter – if you’re willing to dish out the cash. The business model is effective if frustrating at times. If you’re a parent, it can be maddening to find that your child has been buying extra coins in their favorite game at the expense of your hard-earned cash in the no-nonsense game of life. Such a scenario has played out countless times before and the latest victim is someone you might not have anticipated: international star Kanye West.
The popular rapper recently expressed his annoyance on Twitter at the practice of offering in-app purchases in a game that targets children. “That makes no sense!!! We give the iPad to our child and every 5 minutes there’s a new purchase,” West bemoaned. Despite having amassed a net worth of over $100 million, he was noticeably upset, and perhaps rightfully so. It’s unclear exactly what game his two-year-old daughter was using to make these orders, but the rapper was quick to place blame on the game’s developers.
Some, like West, would argue developers need not place any form of in-app purchases in games for kids, but it is possible the occasional parent gives in to their child’s requests for such a product. There may not be a black or white answer to this issue, but software makers have provided their own solution. Both Android and iOS offer settings for their users to restrict in-app purchases. The tool is an invaluable addition to a smartphone’s feature set, particularly if a parent allows their kids to spend time on it. Google’s method provides an intuitive procedure that applies to each app you download from Android’s Play Store. Also, since apps are organized into age specific groups, Google has automatically required authentication for any purchase made in apps for children 12 and under, meaning there’s no need for additional toggling in settings. However, if you’re looking to require a password to be entered on more apps than that, you will find the necessary tools to do so in the Play Store. In the hamburger menu found in the top left of the screen, “Settings” will be listed, and after you’ve tapped that, you will find an option to “Require authentication for purchases.” Your Android will bring up three choices. You can choose from complete protection with every app requiring your password, protection after 30 minutes on standby, or if you’re the only one who uses your device, no need to authenticate purchases whatsoever.