Toddlers love playing with their parents’ smartphones and tablets, so it’s no surprise that screen time for adolescents nearly doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic. As someone who works from home while watching two kids, ages 4 and 2, when they are in quarantine from school, I can say with full certainty that this is true in my house. It just makes things so much easier when they are distracted on my phone when I’m working on a deadline. But one toddler took things a little too far when he used his mom’s cell phone to purchase close to $2,000 worth of furniture online!
According to a story by NBC New York on Jan. 22, 22-month-old Ayaansh Kumar used his mom’s phone to order furniture from Walmart. “It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” said dad Pramod Kumar in the interview.
Apparently, Ayaansh’s mom, Madhu Kumar, had been online shopping after the family recently moved to New Jersey, but she never intended to actually check out. Suddenly, packages of accent chairs, flower stands, and more started showing up, and neither Madhu or Pramod or their two older kids knew who bought it. The packages came all week, and they realized their toddler had purchased them.
“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom said.
In an interview with Today on Jan. 22, Pramod explained, “My wife does online shopping, so at the time, she was checking some things on Walmart and she added to a cart. She was not intending to purchase those, she just added to a cart and said, ‘OK, we’ll come back later.’ But then she put the phone down and somehow my son managed to get the phone.”
He later added he was surprised the toddler was able to complete this order. “If you go online shopping, it asks you multiple times about the items you need to select and you have to click here to be able to confirm and then reconfirm to make sure before ordering,” he said. “So I was really surprised to see how he was able to complete the whole transaction.”
However, it was easier to place the order because all Madhu’s payment info was stored on her phone, according to an interview with News 12 New York.
After Ayaansh placed the order, it was too late to cancel. So, the couple is planning on waiting for all the deliveries to be made before they return their order to Walmart, which the company said would offer a refund on the items they didn’t want. The parents seem to be good-humored about the whole thing, even saying they may keep a few items as a reminder.
“We are asking the same questions [to Ayaansh] again and again, ‘Oh, did you order that?’” Madhu told Today. Pramod added, “He’s totally clueless to what he did, because nothing he ordered is of interest to him.”
Although Ayaansh is adorable, this story is absolutely terrifying. Who could even imagine the type of destruction toddlers are capable of on your phone? To prevent something like this in the future, you can install passcodes or facial recognition software in order to unlock your phone, delete stored payment cards on shopping sites, and enable guided access to limit your device to a single app when your toddler is using it. You can also turn off in-app purchases on an iPhone using Screen Time.
Toddlers sure know how to keep their parents on their toes, don’t they?