If you bought your child an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch for the holidays, then I am sure you have one very happy camper on your hands. But as most parents will quickly find out, buying the device is just the start of the financial commitment. All these devices require a constant stream of new content. Whether it’s TV shows, movies, music, games or apps, your child will be making frequent visits to the iTunes store, and most of those visits will cost money.
Of course, if you gave your child one of these devices, then you probably also gave him or her an iTunes gift card. But gift cards quickly run out, to be replaced more often than not by a parent’s credit card. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of the problems begin. In the last few years, there have been numerous stories about how kids have racked up hundreds of dollars on their parents’ credit cards, mostly through in-game purchases.
However, there is another way to manage your child’s iTunes account – one which can help teach a little fiscal responsibility along the way. iTunes allows you to set-up a fixed monthly spending allowance for anyone you choose, which can then be used for songs, movies, games, and any in-app purchases. Once the spending limit is reached, there can be no more purchases until the next month’s allowance kicks in.
Here’s how it works:
- Log in to your iTunes account.
- Go to the iTunes Store and click on Buy iTunes Gifts, which is located under Quick Links on the upper right of the page.
- Scroll down to the Allowances section and click on Set up an allowance now.
- Enter the name of the person you wish to receive the allowance and choose the monthly amount, which can be anything from $10 to $50. You can also choose when the allowance starts – either immediately or on the first day of the following month. You then need to enter the Apple ID for the recipient. If the recipient of the allowance doesn’t have an Apple ID, you can create one. When you have finished, click Continue.
- You will then be asked to sign in with your Apple ID to set up the allowance. Once you have input your Apple ID, click Setup to confirm and set up the allowance.
Unused portions of the allowance will be carried over to the following month. You can cancel or make changes to the allowance by logging in to your Account, which can also be accessed under Quick Links on the iTunes Store home page.
Monica Vila is TheOnlineMom -a community devoted to promoting a healthy understanding and appreciation for the positive role technology can play in a child’s life. She’s constantly chatting on Facebook here or on Twitter @TheOnlineMom where you are more than welcome to join the conversation.