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Setting App Boundaries for Kids: Limiting Microtransactions

graphic of video games, credit card and a smartphone

Are you knowledgeable of the concept of “freemium”?

Freemium refers to app-based mobile games that are initially free but offer quicker progression with real-world money through microtransactions. These sums may seem small by themselves, but they quickly add up. Many parents are finding high monthly bills due to their children’s in-game spending habits. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to set up firm financial boundaries for their kids regarding these microtransactions.

Limit Screen Time

Freemium games with microtransactions are developed to keep players addicted to progress. With constant small achievements, kids can quickly feel the uncontrollable impulse to continue playing to reach the next level. This ease of use is why mindlessly purchasing items to accelerate the process becomes an issue. Help break the game’s addiction cycle by limiting your child’s screen time. Set up a daily allowance of gaming hours to curb digital spending. With limited screen time, your kids will gain a healthier relationship with their devices. No longer will it be a necessity but a treat.

Don’t Save Credit Card Information

Using your mobile device to purchase items online is made easier when your credit card information is saved. This action is incredibly useful for parents, but it can lead to mindless purchases from your children. Unsave your credit card information from your devices and online profiles to circumvent this issue. It may make online shopping for yourself slightly more time consuming, but it can save you a future headache. Also, if your children do want to purchase something in-game, they’ll need to ask for your permission. This extra step gives you an opportunity to review the purchase beforehand.

Learn the Game Yourself

How much do you actually know about the app your kids are using? Most disagreements about microtransactions stem from a knowledge gulf between parent and child. Take some time to narrow the gap. Have your kid show you the workings of their favorite apps and use it on your own as well. Learning first hand how the game presents microtransactions can help you properly educate your kids about healthy spending habits. A fun side-effect is this can turn mobile gaming from a solitary experience into a family one.

Use Prepaid Cards

Not all microtransactions are evil. Sometimes they increase your kids’ enjoyment of the game. If you want to reward your children, try giving them a prepaid card. These reloadable debit cards are set with a fixed amount to be used in the app. With a finite sum to spend, a prepaid card becomes a teaching method on the merits of budgeting. Money lessons are made easier because your children have a stronger understanding of the app’s rules than of personal finances.

Sometimes it is easier said than done for parents when it comes to finances. Many families struggle with debt, which places a dark cloud over a household. A positive is you’re not alone. CreditGUARD has experience with helping clients transform their financial situations into much brighter ones. Take control of your debt with our nonprofit credit counseling and debt management programs.

If you’d like to learn more about how CreditGUARD can help you, call one of our certified credit counselors at 1-800-500-6489 for a FREE consultation!