How to manage your child’s online spending on app store

We want our kids to make the most of their iPads, but at the same time there are aspects of their usage that require our attention. Having covered how to prevent children from accessing adult content (link), in this post we’re going to look at how to restrict our children’s spending online.

Finding out that your child has run up a huge bill in the iTunes store is not a fiction for a lot of parents and when the amount of money involved is particularly high, it hits the news headlines! Even parents who believe that their generally sensible children have a good grasp of money, have been surprised to discover an unwanted bill heading their way. We can help you prevent that from happening. There are a few different ways to restrict online spending on the iPad, so let’s have a look at them.

How to prevent your children from installing new apps

If your kids are still quite young, you might want to approve which apps are being installed and the easiest way to do that is to disable “Installing Apps.” This means that you’ll be in charge of downloading any requested apps, because you’ll need to input your pin code. To set this up, tap on the Settings icon and then tap on “Restrictions.” On the restrictions page turn the “Installing Apps” switch to off.

Disable installing apps

How to prevent your children from making purchases from within an app

Lots of apps offer in-app purchases, which range from add-ons to the app, to related merchandise, which will be delivered to your door! The in-app purchase buttons often look like part of the game and your children may not even know that when they press them, they’re spending money. You can switch off “In-app Purchases” from the restrictions page. Press the Settings icon, tap on restrictions, then scroll down until you find “In-app Purchases”.

Disable in-app purchases

Setting up an iTunes allowance

If your children are a little bit older and little bit more independent, you might be happy for them to make their own purchases in the iTunes store. That said, you will probably want to limit their spending. You can provide your children with a monthly iTunes allowance, which will give them a limited credit. You can set the amount and you’ll be charged each month. To set it up you’ll need the Apple ID of the person who will be charged and the Apple ID of the child who will be doing the spending. (Children over 13 are entitled to their Apple ID.)

Tap on the iTunes icon and then tap on “store.” You’ll then need to tap on “Send Gift” and “View account.”

iTunes Allowance
The next step is to click “Learn more about Gifting” and then “Set up an Allowance.” It’s here that you’ll need to enter the necessary information, such as the Apple IDs involved and the amount you want to spend per month. Once you have set it up, your children will be able to view their allowances when they sign in to the iTunes store. To limit their spending to the provided allowance, make sure that you remove any credit card information from the iPad they’re using.

Should you want to cancel the allowance, repeat the same steps as above by going into the iTunes store, tapping on “Send Gift” and “View Account.” Here you will be able to change or cancel allowances.

iTunes account details

Finally there is another option to help you limit spending, which is the “Guided Access” function. This will be covered in another blog post which details more ways in which you can keep your child safe online (link), whilst also protecting your iPad from any changes your children might inadvertently make to your emails or calendar etc.