Watch out before you let your children play with apps on your iPhone. One mom learned that lesson the hard way when she let her 4-year-old son play “The Smurfs’ Village,” a Farmville-like mobile application in which Smurfs maintain farms and build villages.
According to an Associated Press story, “Kids go on expensive buying sprees in iPhone games,” Kelly Rummelhart of Gridley, Calif., was stunned when she found $66.88 in charges on her credit card from the game. She didn’t know you could buy game items with real money; her son is too young to know.
Andrew Butterworth, of Brooklin, Ontario, also learned this lesson after his son charged $140 in “Smurfberries,” according to the AP. A package of 1,000 pretend Smurfberries will set you back $59 in real money.
Late last year, Apple started allowing “in-app” purchases in for free apps. So, you can download and play “Smurfs’ Village” for free, and then make optional purchases to speed up your game play.
These extras don’t require a password to buy if you’ve recently entered your iTunes password for any reason, not just in the game.
The makers of “The Smurfs’ Village,” Capcom Entertainment Inc., now warn buyers of this fact before they add it to their device (see screenshot).
So consider yourself warned that you might get more than annoying ads when you download “free” apps. Extra features, while they make the game more fun to play, can cost you.