Toddler With iPad Goes on App-Buying Frenzy

New parenthood is full of hidden costs that pop up out of nowhere. But this one makes me happy my girl's now big. A toddler in Australia used her stubby little finger to run up $50 in app purchases from the mobile Mac store on the family iPad.

As her mother Lisa Leigh tells The Age of Australia:

"She's a big fan of the iPad .... She uses it every day for a few hours, but I didn't think anything of it. She was just playing with it until, later, when she had gone to bed and I was checking my email and I saw that I had paid for a whole bunch of apps that I didn't remember buying."


First of all, a "few hours a day"? Sounds like someone's letting Steve Jobs be their babysitter. And it's nice to know a 3-year-old has perks I don't. (My birthday's on the 28, all.)

The little girl didn't just buy little one-dollar tic-tac-toe games either. She got a flight control app and one from Documents to Go that ran $17. 

The lady's lucky the kid didn't buy any porn.

Though I'm guilty too. My kid hasn't purchased full-on new apps but has unknowingly (or very sneakily, I'm not quite sure) bought updates to existing stuff on my iPod touch from her backseat booster.

Why do tots love the mobile devices so much? I understand the appeal of the iPad, if you saw one for the first time you might think it was made for kids. But it's true of even the crappiest free cellie. They're apparently delicious, just begging to be sucked on. And the buttons are as inviting as mama's nipples. Yet you try to give a kid an old one you're no longer using and they lose interest in like two minutes. It's like they can smell that the contract has expired.

These are all reasons why every mobile device should come with a toddler mode, where all the kid-friendly stuff works, but the thing is essentially locked from real activities, like making calls and buying apps. Toddlers running up crazy phone bills is a phenomenon way older than cell phones.

But until then, an Apple spokeswoman offered a tip to avoid your kid becoming the next little Sienna.

"The restrictions preferences are located under Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content (In-App Purchases) OFF. When this is activated, in-app purchases is turned off."

Though maybe you want to leave it on. The kid might come across something useful.

What's the craziest thing your kid ever did with your mobile device?

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