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Family Tech: Apple’s, Google’s and Amazon’s family plans offer lots of sharing options

Twenty years ago you bought a movie and put the VHS tape on the shelf near your VCR. If the movie wasn’t quite appropriate for the kids, it went into a shoebox on the top shelf of the parent’s closet. That’s where the kids found it when they got a bit older and snooped when the parents were out. 

Then along came online media purchases and things got more complex. Mom and Dad likely had separate iTunes or Android accounts. Often the kids did too. 

Movies purchased on one account had to be watched on a device tied to that account. If two kids wanted to watch Frozen on their own devices, some parents bought a copy for each child’s device. 

Apple, Google, and Amazon have made it a bit easier with shared family plans for the videos and other streaming and downloadable content. 

These programs allow family members to share purchases and consume them on various devices, even if the purchase was made on another account, as long as that account is part of the family plan. 

Apple’s plan has one adult agreeing to pay on their credit card for the purchases of up to five family members. At first, that sounds dangerous, but the kids’ purchases can require the adult’s approval before the transaction is made. This works for both paid and free downloads. The approval is done right on the adult’s device, so the child can make the request while at daycare, and the parent can approve while still at work, for example. 

All downloads of movies, apps, books and music appear on the list of all family members. And the adults can hide some of their purchases if they want, to keep the six year old from watching “The Shining.” 

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

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