Remember those sneaky Smurfs? The in-app iPad purchases from the free game Smurf’s Village – and dozens of games like it – had parents seeing red as their toddlers accidentally ran up credit card bills.
The Kindle Fire also has a similar problem. Kids who play about with the 7-inch tablet are just a few swipes away from Amazon’s famous 1-Click Ordering, a feature that cannot be disabled on the device. (If you haven’t disabled in-app purchases on your iPad, here’s how.)
Reuters reports that Jason Rosenfeld’s 3-year-old daughter basically bought her own Christmas presents after seeing Dad’s shopping history on the tablet.
Although the email confirmation sent to her father from Amazon ended her secret Santa mishap, at least one parent returned the tablets because the one-click buys can’t be disabled.
Lance Durham, a software engineer, sent the tablets packing after following Amazon’s suggestion to “de-register” the devices – because Amazon told him he couldn’t disable the 1-Click shopping function. He followed the instructions, but de-registering the device caused the apps he downloaded not to work on the Fire anymore. That’s when he decided his kids would be getting something else for Christmas.
Parent Subrata Majumder says he also tried to turn off “1-Click” to no avail.
“Kids can tap the ’1-Click’ button out of curiosity and contents are purchased immediately. My son tapped the ’1-Click button’ a few times,” he says.
So far, Amazon is taking a leaf from Apple’s tree and simply refunding the accidental buys.
But at least one security experts says that any device where purchasing can’t be disabled is definitely not one for the kids.
“My advice is if you can’t trust someone with a device that can place orders in a click and may have access to age-inappropriate content – don’t hand it to them,” said Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist for Citrix Systems.