Is it worth paying for the paid version of an app? Does it eliminate ads?
If your child uses lots of apps, it can be a challenge to keep up with them. Time and again, we’ve been unpleasantly surprised, even when apps are rated 4+*. There’s no assurance that advertising content will be age-appropriate, and so many of these apps are gamified. Children are often required to watch ads if they want to keep playing, or are enticed to watch ads to earn extra points or special rewards.
We find this underlying manipulation deeply concerning. When downloading the free version of games from the App Store, parents need to be on the lookout. It’s always a good idea to spend a few minutes exploring the app, but these apps can be sneaky, and you may not notice certain things on the first pass.
Use Our Family Agreement to set expectations with your children about what they will do when they see something inappropriate. Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen. Usually, the paid version is a safer bet, but there can still be some irksome content.**
*This is an example of an ad series that was shown on a free app called Draw It which is rated 4+. We’ve unfortunately seen many similar examples.
**Even when you pay to remove ads, some apps will still give your child the option to view ads and do activities in exchange for points. Ugghh!