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How to prevent your child from spending money on your smartphone

It’s easy for children to run up costs when playing mobile games on a smartphone. In fact, that’s quite often the idea behind such apps.

That’s why parents should make sure that certain functions on their tablet or smartphone are restricted.

Parents can have certain telephone numbers blocked by their telephone company, explains Julian Graf, a consumer protection expert in

In some countries, consumers have the statutory right to have an entire range of paid numbers blocked. This can also cover numbers that can be called to acquire virtual equipment for some games.

Also, manual phone locks are an option. For this, you may want to take a look at the instruction manual of the device. A block by a third-party provider is also a sensible solution, says Graf.

These locks can disable certain mobile payments and prevent you from inadvertently paying for subscriptions for ringtones, games and other Internet services.

Beware of advertising banners

An accidental click on an advertising banner in a game is often enough to run up a bill.

“The child also shouldn’t have access to the parents’ credit cards,” advises Graf. It may end up being quite costly if children play so-called free-to-play titles, where the app is initially free, but additional content can be purchased within the game.

Children have the option to make unlimited in-app purchases with the credit card because it’s fairly easy to make payments in the app stores with credit cards.

Also, setting a password for the respective app store is a good idea.

App stores also give you the option of buying prepaid cards, which can help limit payments made by children. “This way, parents can control how much money the children spend while playing.”

Graf also advises parents to regularly check their emails for any invoices. “If children buy something through their parents’ account, the bill may end up in the inbox,” says Graf. This, however, is more difficult if the child uses his or her own account. – dpa