The perils of free smartphone and tablet games

One of my MacFormat columns has made its way online:

The problem with kids is that the very things that make them so sweet – their complete trust in grown-ups, their utter lack of cynicism and their lack of impulse control – make them very easy to exploit. And that’s exactly what many app developers are trying to do.

…the App Store is packed with apps whose entire purpose is to trigger in-app purchases, whether that’s paid-for apps or expensive in-app fripperies.

I have a particular hatred of Outfit7’s talking characters, whose apps’ screens are minefields of “buy things!” buttons, but the nadir is probably Beeline Interactive’s Smurfs’ Village, a free app that includes in-app purchases such as a “wagon of smurfberries” for just £69.99.

How do they sleep?

It’s not a problem for me today, mind you: an accident involving a leaky water pistol has killed my iPhone. You don’t realise how much you use your smartphone until you can’t.