While Pokemon Go is free to download to a mobile device, it is not always a completely free game. Like many other mobile games, it has in-app purchases, where your kids can purchase pokeballs and other special features. This is optional, but if you don’t have the right parental restrictions on a phone, could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Follow these tips to avoid all those extra charges from Pokemon GO.
Set Family Permissions on All Mobile Devices
Think Pokemon Go is a completely free game? Think again! While it can be free, there are still purchases you can make while playing the game. These in-app purchases are encouraged in order to purchase more poke balls for catching Pokemon and other features to advance faster through the different levels. This is highly tempting to kids who want to try to challenge their friends to get ahead. In fact, as of July 2016, just a week after the game’s release, there have already been $1.6 million purchases a day from the game. The best thing you can do is set family permissions to where kids can’t just make any purchases they want without your authorization.
Be Careful with Extra Data Charges
The game doesn’t just have purchases, but it can also cause your cell phone bills to spike. If your kids or teens use your family data plan, then make sure you know exactly what your plan entails. If you have unlimited data for all apps on all phones, then this isn’t going to be an issue for you. However, some plans have data caps, so if your kids use the family’s data cap within a few days of playing the game, the rest of the family is out of luck for the rest of the month. There are also some plans where it starts charging when they go over the allotted amount of data, so be very careful with this. Some phones do have permissions where you can restrict how much data they are able to use. This is another good way to avoid extra purchases from the game.
Require Older Kids and Teens to Earn Money for Purchases
There is going to come a time when your kids really want to make a small purchase in the game to get ahead. While you shouldn’t offer them unlimited access, you might want to allow them under certain circumstances. It might be good to give them a certain amount of money to use for purchases, or perhaps have a list of chores they need to complete before you will buy coins in the game. For teens, consider giving them their allowance on a prepaid credit card to be used for whatever they like.