My son is sprawled on the couch with his iPad on his stomach. It is playing an ad; he is staring at the ceiling. When he sees me, he moans a little and complains that he is forced to watch ads sometimes because he needs coins and I won't let him make in-app purchases.
I explain to him again how in-app purchases like this one are a waste of money. He points out that he still has some money on a gift card he could use. I take a deep breath and give him a condensed version of the value of money speech.
It's the same speech that I have been giving him since he first started earning an allowance. Now that he is older, we talk a little more about perceived value and that is what I tend to focus on when we talk about digital purchases and how they add up and ask him if he would be happy that he spent his money on that in the long run.
I am very aware that I have to nip the digital spending conversation early so that he'll think about those purchases the same as he would for in-person purchases.
His ad is over. He goes back to his game. I kiss him on the head and tell him that I love him, and I am glad he asks good questions and that he is the kind of kid who is careful with his money.
He sighs. But we are good for now.
Do you let your children make in-app purchases without your knowledge? Tell me in the comments.