Ten Year Old Lee Walters And The £600 iBill Lesson

Not sharing a key password with your child is a good idea but does it absolve you of parental responsibility?

A ten year old schoolboy, Lee Walters, recently managed to rack up a £613 bill in just three hours after playing a ‘free’ game he downloaded on his mother’s old iPhone. He innocently (presumably) clicked on a ‘buy now’ option within the Hay Day game which appeared every few minutes and, each time, paid £19 for virtual gold coins and diamonds.

Hay-Day

According to his mother, Katharyne Williams, this was only possible because the iPhone saved a password that she herself hadn’t shared with her son.

Fortunately for the family Apple have agreed to refund the cash but I actually feel that they have been incredibly generous here.

After all, the game comes with a warning that, whilst it is free to play, some in-game items do require payment.

Sure, its not the fault of a ten year old boy – if my kids could go on a spending spree in a game I’m pretty sure they would – but then again it wouldn’t happen because I do exert some parental controls through observation, education and software.

As Apple themselves say,

“All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content.

‘Our parents’ guide to iTunes details the steps and measures parents and guardians can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content.”

So, who is to blame in this case? I certainly have my thoughts and they are quite different to what most other parents I’ve spoken to have 😀

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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