For ParentsFor Teachers

Bad Apple? Who’s To Blame For Kids’ In-Game Shopping Sprees?

By Lynette Owens

The following is an excerpt from a guest post that originally appeared in  Forbes on March 11.

This is a story about Apple and a group of angry parents whose kids did something they shouldn’t have.

It involves allegedly deceptive marketing practices, app-loving minors, parents who can afford to let their kids have or use Apple devices, and a class-action lawsuit against one of the most cash rich companies in the world.

But the story within this story is one that underscores the challenge we face in helping our kids be safe and responsible tech enthusiasts: Whose job is it?

The Root of the Problem

In April 2011, five parents took issue with Apple because they believed the company tricked their kids into racking up hundreds of dollars in credit-card charges playing supposedly free games.  Once they were hooked, kids could easily continue the fun by buying items or more time with the tap of a screen.

Apple says that while games are often free to download, there will be options to use real money while playing it.  There are two features in iOS to stop this: a restriction that turns off in-app purchasing and a password required for any charge on the iTunes account for that device. (The second of these features was added right around the time the lawsuit was filed.)

However, we may never see these arguments play out in court. In the end, Apple chose not to fight the battle and agreed to a $100 million settlement.  Even to the technology novice, it is clear there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Read the full story on Forbes here.

Tags :Appleappscell phonesdigital citizenshipdigital literacyeducationinternet safetykidsmedia literacymobileonline safetyparents

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