Afraid your kid could rack up $1,400 on FarmVille? Try Virtual Piggy

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Kids with iPadAll of the horror stories play out like so: kid gets a hold of mommy's iPad, said iPad has mommy's credit card information already registered, kid spends thousands on Smurfberries, sending mommy into a downward spiral of unreconcilable debt. Virtual Piggy is a new service that allows parents to monitor their kids' online spending as closely as they want.

The thing, game makers aren't going to stop creating games with microtransactions that target teens, especially on mobile devices. "There's no point in producing teen games if you can't monetize them," Virtual Piggy director of business development Joe Peden told Forbes. "So if you don't want them buying World of Warcraft or some shoot 'em up, you can control that."

Parents can use existing credit cards or PayPal accounts to set up the browser-based service, which is 100 percent free to use. Moms and dads can set monthly allowances for their kids, who receive their own accounts with different permissions. Parents can also make their kids send text messages for approval for any purchase over a certain amount, and block kids from buying virtual goods through certain websites or services.

Basically, Virtual Piggy puts parents in control of what their kids are spending their hard-earned money on online and how much. And as Forbes points out, limiting how much your kids can spend in a given game might instill some basic budgeting skills. And who knows, maybe this will your child from being a whale in the making.

[Image Credit: emersunn/Flickr]

Interested in giving Virtual Piggy a shot? What horror stories have you heard about kids and exorbitant in-game purchases? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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