It is the Murphy's Law of Parenting that means when we avert our eyes from our precious little offspring they will immediately find themselves so deep down a hole of Oreos and spilled milk that it takes every ounce of willpower we have to retrieve them. Sometimes the messes our kids find themselves in are sticky and gross.
Like covering their sibling with peanut butter to turn them into a human bird feeder. Sometimes our kids get little toys tangled in their hair when we aren't looking and it requires us to spend a million painstaking hours to gently disentangle every single strand of hair. Most of those times it only cost us a few hours, paper towels, soap and our sanity to get out of these situations.
But other times it can cost us a mortgage payment!
Apple and Google have found themselves in the middle of several lawsuits and refunding thousands of dollars to parents with very resourceful kids. But what a lot of parents don't know is that there are many ways you can protect yourself and your kid from making unauthorized purchases.
Guided Access is a great tool that will keep your baby locked in a tech jail cell and won't let them out of the current app without your permission and a passcode. Other safety features to consider are turning off the ability to not do in-app purchases or always requiring a password to download.
Another useful solution is to stop storing your credit card in things like your phone, game systems and eBay. Hopefully these parent's cautionary tales will inspire you to put some safety features on your own devices.
15Six-Year Old Buys A Dollhouse And Cookies
One of the hot items this past holiday season was the Amazon Alexa. For some Alexa has become the tech assistant we've all been dreaming of. But for six-year-old Brooke Neitzel, Alexa quickly became the little girls new best partner in crime.
Perhaps not completely happy with her Christmas haul from Santa, little Brooke asked Alexa "Can you please play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?" and of course after her and her new playmate were done playing they were gonna need a snack! So Brooke also ordered a four-pound tin of cookies. She sounds like my kind of girl!
Brooke says that once Alexa completed the order that she told her she loved her. Can you imagine the shock on her parents face when the $160 dollhouse and cookies showed up on their doorsteps? Luckily for Brooke her parents let her keep the cookies, but donated the dollhouse to a local children's hospital in Dallas.
14Kid Racks Up $6,000 On Jurassic World
We've all been guilty of getting a little too engrossed in mobile games. Anyone play Design Home? Run out of money and diamonds but somehow still need to manage to put together a stylish rustic living room and need $5,000 worth of products?
Usually when I find myself in this situation (which seems to be often) I just take a little bit of money from "miscellaneous adventures in Target" budget and spend it on an imaginary ottoman instead of a real life one.
But imagine your kid gets a hold of your phone and taps into not only your fun budget money, but the money you've been saving for Sally's braces AND that dream vacation you've been dreaming of. Well that's what happened when one Dad found out his kid spent nearly $6,000 on in-app purchases for the mobile game Jurassic World and $2,200 of that was spent in ONE HOUR.
Dad had no idea until he ran into credit card problems and had to call the bank. Thankfully for the Dad and kid Apple agreed to a refund...in 10 days.
13Toddler Bids On Car And WINS
Fourteen-month-olds can be a handful sometimes. I know when mine starts to tap on my leg or wake up at 5:30am I just hand her my phone and let her watch her favorite "row row" videos. But I'm smart about it because I always turn on Guided Access. However, this next Dad? Not so much.
Paul Stoute from Portland says he realized his fourteen-month-old daughter had not only bid on a 1962 Austin Healey car, but had actually won it when he received an email from eBay congratulating him. He immediately contacted the seller to let him know what happened. The seller suggested contacting the next highest bidder, but offered Dad an even better solution.
Purchase the car and turn it into a father-kid project that could possibly be little Sorella's first car. Paul jumped on the idea and after paying the $202.50 was the proud owner of his nearly two-year-old daughters first car.
12Teen Accidentally Charges $733 At Sephora On Mom's Card
It's not just toddler's and video gaming boys that rack up charges without their parent's knowledge. Alex Dello, a 15-year-old makeup connoisseur documented her entire ordeal in a video for Twitter.
So what had happened was. She was play shopping online and stocking her Sephora cart to the limits and found what she hoped would be unused gift cards and logged them in and hit "purchase" to her surprise she got a confirmation, but it wasn't the gift cards that paid. Nope. It was her Mom's credit card that took the hit.
She says she texted her Mom right away and told her what had gone down and begged her to spare her life. Her mother says she immediately panicked because her daughter didn't give her an exact total at first so she knew it must have been bad. But a Christmas miracle was waiting for Alex, because her Mom decided to let her keep everything as a Christmas present.
Teen girls everywhere are wondering if they can pull this same scheme off next Christmas.
11Celebrity Dad Jack Black's Son Racks Up A $3,000 App Bill
Yes, even celebrities are not immune to the sticky fingers of their kids. Remember Kanye's Twitter rant about little Northie and the so called "free games"? Jack Black hilariously recounts to Jimmy Fallon how his 8-year-old son Sammy is so into mobile games (like all 8 year olds). He's checking his email one day and sees 30 iTunes receipt emails.
Each receipt is for a purchase of a sack of diamonds that cost $100 each! Jack says he has a sit down talk with his son and has to explain to him that money is very real and that yes, he makes money from movies, but if he spends three mother loving thousand dollars a day on a video game, they'll have to move.
Jack wised up and took off the in-app purchase privilege. He also emailed Apple and is hoping that his appearance on Jimmy Fallon will help him get a refund.
10Boy Spends $1,200 Of Single Mom's Hard Earned Cash On Xbox
Single parents are some of the hardest workers. Every little penny has to be carefully accounted for and budgeted correctly. When Dawn Matthews, single Mom to Brendan found out her son spent $1,200 on Xbox Live for games and accessories she was devastated and knew exactly who to be angry with, Microsoft!
Her son had no idea that her previously linked card was the one that he was using to make all of his purchases. His mother contacted Microsoft, but was unable to get any of her money back. She even had to fight with them for days to get them to remove her card information from their system.
Dawn says she hopes to be a cautionary tale to other parents, but puts the blame squarely on Microsoft. Microsoft has said that they have parental control accounts for situations just like this. I hope for Brendan and his Mom's sake they set that up.
9Two-Year Old Orders NBA League Passes
Kid's are drawn to remotes, like moths to a flame. Most of the time they're just hitting a bunch of buttons to watch them light up. Sometimes that can buy you some free time to finish a chore around the house, finish eating your lunch standing up or maybe just allow you to pee alone. Other times it can buy you an additional TV channel.
One Verizon customer was very angry when he found out his son ordered a special NBA channel (hey, maybe he wanted to see LeBron shoot a free throw from center court.) and Verizon said they couldn't do anything about it. I mean I get why Verizon said no. How can they know inexplicably that it was the kid who did it and not Dad having buyer's remorse?
Unfortunately for Verizon they lost a customer and a basketball aficionado lost his special channels. Hey Dad! Next time, take the batteries out first.
811-Year-Old Decides To Prep For Bar Exam Early
I'm not sure how mad I am at this next story. Most of the stuff we're reading about kids making accidental purchases are for silly things like games. Things that are surely rotting their brain and will serve them no purpose in life. But come on, how can you be mad at an 11-year-old who decides to be pro-active about his future and start prepping now for the bar exam by downloading a bar exam prep course.
It seems to me like he just got really enthused about being a lawyer while watching People's Court and decided to get a jump on things. I mean what's $1,000? It's an investment into his future, a price you'll eventually have to pay anyway. Major points for this kid for coping to truth early and using his Mom's phone for more than Candy Crush.
Maybe he can defend all the aforementioned kids with sticky fingers later on in life.
7Preschooler Buys A $12,000 Tractor Thinking It Was A Toy
Kid's are always watching us and picking up things we don't even realize. No one knows this better than Sarah Quinlan whose three-year-old daughter Pipi purchased a tractor from an online auction site.
Pipi-who clearly has an obsession with construction vehicles was use to watching her Mom make her own online purchases and probably decided that it couldn't be that hard and besides she really, really, wanted that big yellow earth digging machine. Somehow when Sarah didn't have sweet little Pipi in her eyesight, Pipi managed to get herself to an auction site, bid on and win a $12,000 tractor.
Pipi's mom was astonished (and probably a little proud that she has such a quick little learner) when she received an email telling her she was going to love her digger. She contacted the auction site who graciously agreed to re-list the tractor and reimburse the seller's fees.
6Kid Thinks He's Bidding $75 For An Xbox But Really $7500
Poor Nathan didn't just want one Xbox, nope, he wanted two. Why? I'm not so sure. But Nathan got more than he bargained for when his Dad found out he had bid $7,500 on two Xbox's. Nathan's original intent was to only bid $75, but because of the absence of a decimal point he now has to suffer the wrath of his Dad plus the humiliation of the entire internet.
Mom doesn't sound too happy either as she uses this opportunity to shade Dad and remind him that these games systems were going to cost them more than her car. Whoa. Sounds like both Dad and Nathan are in trouble. Once his Dad informs him that he really is filming this entire exchange as evidence of a crime, Nathan wises up and promises never to bid on auction sites again and then quickly develops an intense desire to just go brush his teeth.
5Toddler Is A Bargain Shopper Just Like Her Mom
We often think our kids don't realize the stress we are under as parents. The constant go-go-go that is our daily life. It would be nice if our kids realized that and maybe stepped up to do something about it. Well one little toddler decided to do what all little toddlers need to do. She recognized her parents plight and decided to book them a last minute getaway.
Ashleigh O'Connor was browsing flights and noticed that return flights from Fuerteventur were so good that the family could afford to do a winter getaway and relax in the sun. I guess 18-month-old Ella decided her Mother wasn't moving fast enough with that vacation and she took matters into her own hands and booked the flights herself!
Somehow this smart girl confirmed the names and paid for flights in Euros via PayPal. When her Mom found out she decided that toddler knew best and they decided to enjoy the trip anyway.
4Kid Almost Buys A Harrier Fighter Jet
This next kid tired of building his lame model airplanes with Dad decided that he'd much rather own the real thing. He decided to go ahead and purchase his own vintage British-built Harrier Jump Jet T-Bird Aircraft. A 7-year-old boy from London was playing on his father's computer when the auction went live.
Not wanting to chance loosing the plane to other potential buyers he took a leap of faith and clicked "Buy It Now" on an auction site. Side Note: You really can buy anything online nowadays huh? The boy won the fighter jet for a measly $113,515.
His father and his lightening fast reflexes intercepted the purchase and called the auction site to tell him he didn't quite have the funds to cover the purchase. The auction site was understanding and re-listed the jet. Luckily for the auction company once the story went public they received over 80 bids from 59 different countries.
315-Year-Old Bids $15 Million On Coke Recipe
I remember being a desperate to teen who was willing to do anything to fit in, look cool and make kids desperate to be my friend. My biggest moment was giving myself bangs and then deciding that bangs were not my thing and then cutting them off which of course only left me with a large and noticeable bald spot.
But I could never imagine being desperate enough to be cool that I bid FIFTEEN MILLION dollars on the original Coke recipe. Well, that's exactly what this 15-year-old did. Georgia Antiques Dealer, Cliff Kluge, found what he believes is the original yellowed and tattered paper recipe in a Tennessee estate sale and put it up on an auction site. Cliff was hoping to draw some attention to his auction and he certainly did with this bid!
Per eBay rules Cliff has to wait 3 days before he can re-list, ya know, just in case the 15-year-old stock boy has $15 mil sitting in an Air Jordan's shoe box.
2 Teen Causes Cell Phone Bill To Skyrocket Due to Data Usage
It's a tale as old as time for a lot of families with multiple cell phones. You think you're connected to Wi-Fi, you're watching Netflix without stuff having to buffer every 45 seconds, your Facebook feed is loading seamlessly and you really just think you've hit the signal sweet spot.
It's not until you get your cell phone bill that all of those times you thought you were on your Wi-Fi, you weren't. That's what happened when teen Austin Fiengold's Dad opened the cell phone bill and saw the normal bill swell to $2,000!
Austin had a new iPhone feature enabled called 'Wi-Fi Assist' and the way it "assisted" him was by using all of his cell phone data when his Wi-Fi signal was weak. I'm sure poor Austin was mowing a bunch of lawns that summer to help pay it down!
1Boy Buys Playstation Get's Tons of Cash Instead
Now this next story has a bit of a twist to it. A British teenager got permission from his parents (Finally! A kid who asked first!) to bid on a Playstation2 for $194 on eBay. But instead of getting this much desired and highly anticipated gaming system, he got not only his gaming system but also a big fat stack of cash, $90,000 to be exact!
But much to his dismay the parents did the right and noble thing and turned the money over to the Norfolk Constabulary crimes division. And instead of angry parents like our other stories I'm sure this teen was pretty pissed. The teens only hope in keeping the money, was if no one came forward for it. No word if they ever did.
Sources: Cosmopolitan, NBCNews, Teen Vogue, Daily Mail, Business Insider
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