kid goes on pokemon shopping spree on sleeping mum's phone

Christmas came early for six-year-old Ashlynd, who ordered US$250 (S$363) worth of Pokemon toys on Amazon on her sleeping mum’s iPhone.

Mother Bethany Howell of Arkansas was asleep on the couch while her daughter played nearby.

“My phone was sitting on the coffee table next to the couch. Ashlynd picked it up and used my thumbprint to open the phone,” Bethany told the Daily Mail.

Bethany was shocked to find 13 order confirmations for Pokemon gifts in her email the next day, and thought someone had hacked into her Amazon account.

However, she suspected Ashlynd had ordered the toys, and asked if her daughter had been on her phone looking at Pokemon.

“Yeah mommy, I was shopping. But don’t worry – Everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house,” Ashlynd replied.

Bethany says her daughter was “really proud of herself.”

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“I didn’t know she knew what Amazon was,” she says. Her daughter had previously watched YouTube and Netflix videos on her mother’s phone.

As Bethany’s credit card details and address were saved in the auto-fill feature on the site, Ashlynd was able to make the purchases by opening the app and clicking on the items she wanted.

According to Bethany, Amazon only allowed her to return four of the items, leaving Ashlynd with nine Pokemon. Bethany told Ashlynd Santa knew how she had gotten the toys, so she would not be allowed to keep them all.

With kids getting more mobile-savvy these days, here are four ways to prevent them from going on a shopping spree with your phone.

    1. Secure Your Phone With a Passcode

kid goes on pokemon shopping spree on sleeping mum's phone

Who would’ve thought a passcode was more secure than a thumbprint scan? Turns out it’s true when you have pesky kids running about. You can use a number PIN, pattern or password lock.

Be wise about choosing your code too, and don’t make it something easy to guess, like your child’s birthday.

2. Install a child-safe app on your device

kid goes on pokemon shopping spree on sleeping mum's phone

There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to protect your privacy when your kids are using your phone or tablet. Try Curbi, which is free and works for iOS and Android devices and helps you lock apps, put a time limit on screen time and block inappropriate sites.

For Android devices, there’s AppLock, which lets you lock SMS, contacts, Gmail, Facebook and other apps, including your Google Play app store.

3. Don’t automatically store credit card info in your browser or shopping app

kid goes on pokemon shopping spree on sleeping mum's phone

It’s tempting, we know, because who really likes to take out their credit card every time they make an online purchase? But not using the auto-fill feature for credit card info keeps your details safe from your kid, and outsiders too, if your device is lost or stolen. Best to play it safe.

4. Be Vigilant

kid goes on pokemon shopping spree on sleeping mum's phone

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your kid is devious enough to get around your security controls. That’s ok; just be aware of your credit card statements and keep track of your purchases. If you notice any irregularities, check immediately if your credit card has been compromised, or your little one has been on a shopping binge.

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