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MacRumors
Feb 23, 2011, 12:30 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2011/02/23/u-s-regulators-looking-into-kids-overspending-on-in-app-purchases/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2011/02/23/132828-in_app_purchase_dialog.jpg

The Washington Post reports (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2011/02/ftc_chairman_to_probe_apple_ip.html) that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has agreed to take a look at Apple's in app purchasing mechanism as complaints of children being able to spend hundreds of dollars on in-game purchases have continued to rise. The review is being sparked by a letter from U.S. Represenative Ed Markey expressing concern over how such purchases are being marketed to young children who do not understand the money involved.FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote in a letter to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that the practice of "in-app purchases" for certain applications on Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods raised concerns that consumers may not fully understand the ramifications of those charges. The Washington Post wrote about hefty charges amassed by children using Apple device games that public interest groups said should not be included in software geared for children. Some parents said their children didn't understand the difference between real and pretend purchases for items such as $99 barrels of Smurfberries on the Capcom Interactive game Smurfs Village.

"We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases," Leibowitz wrote. "Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications."In app purchases generally require the same password authentication process as regular App Store purchases, a step that should limit children's ability to purchase in-app content as long as their parents have not shared their iTunes Store passwords with them. But Apple has enabled a 15-minute unlock period following password authentication to allow users to make multiple purchases without having to enter their password every time. It is believed that the majority of these occurrences of children racking up large in app purchases have come after a parent had recently entered his or her password (such as in downloading the app for the child) and then handed the device over to the child, at which point the child could initiate in app purchases without the need to enter a password.

Apple has reportedly been considering lowering the password window from 15 minutes in hopes of reducing cases of children being able to spend money within applications. The company also offers parental controls built into iOS that allow adults to completely disable in app purchasing, although many casual users may be unaware of the option's existence.

Article Link: U.S. Regulators Looking Into Kids' Overspending on In App Purchases (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2011/02/23/u-s-regulators-looking-into-kids-overspending-on-in-app-purchases/)



pika2000
Feb 23, 2011, 12:35 PM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

rhomsy
Feb 23, 2011, 12:44 PM
This is welcome news. I hope all purchases, not just from the app store, are completely regulated and controlled. They also should pass some regulations into what not only our kids should eat, but also us adults. What about the fashion and clothing industry. What a waste of money. Regulate that as well. We don't need fancy clothes when our money could be used instead to fund pensions and research the growth of algae in tropical coral reefs.

If they are successful at enacting all of these wonderful regulations, then we can all get lobotomies and be led around with a government helper on full benefits. Our day will come. Government is indeed good.

eNcrypTioN
Feb 23, 2011, 12:52 PM
What a waste of taxpayers money. Here is a great idea, learn to be a parent!

Tailpike1153
Feb 23, 2011, 12:57 PM
For a small sum of a $1Billion USD, I volunteer to watch over the innocent children and their purchases. I will smack their little fingers with a a bamboo cane. Suddenly this reminds me of that South Park episode where they started smacking "ADD" kids. "Sit down and study." I think parents need to get caned then schooled into using parental controls

Eddyisgreat
Feb 23, 2011, 01:05 PM
So wait I will need to be burdened with a lower time out period because some soccer mom refuses to discipline junior while she sips on a venti iced latte from starbucks in her 2010 QX45 Urban assault vehicle??

wtheck?

eNcrypTioN
Feb 23, 2011, 01:15 PM
So wait I will need to be burdened with a lower time out period because some soccer mom refuses to discipline junior while she sips on a venti iced latte from starbucks in her 2010 QX45 Urban assault vehicle??

wtheck?

I lol'd :D

mcapanelli
Feb 23, 2011, 01:27 PM
Here we go kids!! Expect lot's of grandstanding and some real knee jerk legislation cause this IS the year to gear up for the big election. I wish someone would inform people that it's their responsibility to be informed consumers AND parents. My kid racked up $380 in cell downloads in one month. I didn't need my senator to step in. I took away her phone for a month, blocked her ability to purchase ANYTHING on it, and worked out the bill with my provider (AT&T) who practically wiped it all away. This is just going to burden us with more laws and subsequently, more taxes in the form of direct taxation of products, indirect taxes by way of price hikes due to a rise in business tax, or BOTH.

eNcrypTioN
Feb 23, 2011, 01:29 PM
Here we go kids!! Expect lot's of grandstanding and some real knee jerk legislation cause this IS the year to gear up for the big election. I wish someone would inform people that it's their responsibility to be informed consumers AND parents. My kid racked up $380 in cell downloads in one month. I didn't need my senator to step in. I took away her phone for a month, blocked her ability to purchase ANYTHING on it, and worked out the bill with my provider (AT&T) who practically wiped it all away. This is just going to burden us with more laws and subsequently, more taxes in the form of direct taxation of products, indirect taxes by way of price hikes due to a rise in business tax, or BOTH.

Amazing, a parent that actually does what they are supposed to.

Amazing Iceman
Feb 23, 2011, 01:30 PM
FTC go do something useful, let parents learn to educate their kids and earn their respect, so they won't over spend at the AppStore.
It could be the Candy Store or the Arcade, so what's the difference???

cmwade77
Feb 23, 2011, 01:39 PM
Parents need to grow up and be just that....parents and not the kid's buddy, etc.

We do not need Government to step in here, Apple provides several ways for parents to control this:

Do not give your kids your iTunes password
Setup a unique iTunes account for each child
Setup an allowance on each account
Make sure that the account is link to a prepaid card that only has the allowance amount available on it, most banks offer these for free for your kids and you can automatically transfer funds to it each month, payday, etc. (Ok, this one is technically not Apple's method, but it still exists)
Block in App Purchases using parental controls


Government needs to get involved in some things, for example making sure that companies are not monopolies.

They do not need to be involved in every aspect of our PERSONAL lives!

The job of Government is to:

Keep People Safe (Fire Fighters, Police, Paramedics, enact laws that handle this, etc.)
Ensure that interstate commerce is possible
Education
Handle International Travel Documentation and Immigration

That is all, we need to eliminate all of the other junk that Government does and let people govern themselves, get back to basic liberties that we have lost along the way.

Marvin1379
Feb 23, 2011, 01:47 PM
What a waste of taxpayers money. Here is a great idea, learn to be a parent!

Thank you.

rdowns
Feb 23, 2011, 01:48 PM
Please let this serve as public notice of my intentions to bring to market, iParent, a revolutionary new app that allows even the laziest dumb asses to be good parents. Simply type in your parental situation into the app and buy your answer via an in-app purchase. :rolleyes:

TwoSocEmBoppers
Feb 23, 2011, 01:50 PM
This is appalling. I cannot believe this government intrusion is even legal.

So...where does parenting come into the picture here?! That is the problem with this and many, many other problems in society.

Edit: Posted my response without even reading other comments. Glad to see I'm not alone on this one.

iScott428
Feb 23, 2011, 02:10 PM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

Yes correct, this is the parents fault. Its called parenting or should the government send you a check to do that every month too!

Amazing Iceman
Feb 23, 2011, 02:49 PM
Please let this serve as public notice of my intentions to bring to market, iParent, a revolutionary new app that allows even the laziest dumb asses to be good parents. Simply type in your parental situation into the app and buy your answer via an in-app purchase. :rolleyes:

Lol... Great idea, wish you luck :D

jimbobb24
Feb 23, 2011, 03:18 PM
The government already manages my retirement and my healthcare. Managing in-app purchases seems like small potatoes. Really, there are no limits to federal power anymore. They should just do whatever gets them a few minutes on TV to get re-elected.

burtx
Feb 23, 2011, 03:21 PM
Just make it so you can turn off the 15 minute unlock in the settings. It could even be defaulted to be off.

thejadedmonkey
Feb 23, 2011, 03:37 PM
...or Apple could allow returns, like every "normal" store.

optophobia
Feb 23, 2011, 03:53 PM
Thank you to the Stupid parents for wasting my tax money.
Really, you are not giving a good name for yourselves to the rest of the world.

optophobia
Feb 23, 2011, 03:54 PM
...or Apple could allow returns, like every "normal" store.

No it is NOT Apple's fault. This is CLEARLY the parents fault.

goobot
Feb 23, 2011, 04:11 PM
Who cares, if you can't use google or call apple to ask how to disable it even tho it is right there, I have no sympathy.

jav6454
Feb 23, 2011, 04:15 PM
Parenting fail. People should learn how to use the device and check if the device has parental controls.

Truly, parents have become dependent on Uncle Sam to do the parenting work for them....

BC2009
Feb 23, 2011, 05:23 PM
So wait I will need to be burdened with a lower time out period because some soccer mom refuses to discipline junior while she sips on a venti iced latte from starbucks in her 2010 QX45 Urban assault vehicle??


hillarious - rofl.

This is welcome news. I hope all purchases, not just from the app store, are completely regulated and controlled. They also should pass some regulations into what not only our kids should eat, but also us adults. What about the fashion and clothing industry. What a waste of money. Regulate that as well. We don't need fancy clothes when our money could be used instead to fund pensions and research the growth of algae in tropical coral reefs.

If they are successful at enacting all of these wonderful regulations, then we can all get lobotomies and be led around with a government helper on full benefits. Our day will come. Government is indeed good.

enjoyed that immensely. thank you for the post.

Please let this serve as public notice of my intentions to bring to market, iParent, a revolutionary new app that allows even the laziest dumb asses to be good parents. Simply type in your parental situation into the app and buy your answer via an in-app purchase. :rolleyes:

You should have it let the users subscribe to questions and answers from other parents too so it is a recurring charge.

Parenting fail. People should learn how to use the device and check if the device has parental controls.

Truly, parents have become dependent on Uncle Sam to do the parenting work for them....

Yes "parent" is not just a noun, it is also a verb. It is something you are suppose to do when you have children. Handing a kid a device that is ready to let them buy whatever they want is irresponsible and has consequences. Both children and parents need to understand that.

My kid racked up $380 in cell downloads in one month. I didn't need my senator to step in. I took away her phone for a month, blocked her ability to purchase ANYTHING on it, and worked out the bill with my provider (AT&T) who practically wiped it all away.

As a father of three, I applaud you. You dealt with the result, taught your kid the consequences for her actions, and made sure it would not happen again. This is exactly what is suppose to happen when you have kids. You can't anticipate everything they might do, but you sure can make them understand the consequences for their actions and make changes to avoid history from repeating itself.

fpnc
Feb 23, 2011, 05:36 PM
Write to Congress, don't just complain here.

rstansby
Feb 23, 2011, 06:34 PM
Smurf Village is certainly an easy trap. You have to enter your password to download the "free" game, then your kids have 15 minutes to spend real money on in-app purchases. This has never happened to me, but my son did buy an album on the iTunes store once. Parents should obviously disable one click purchasing on any computer that their kids use. And maybe they should wait 15 minutes before handing the phone over to their kids. In my experience Apple is very good about refunding money in situations like this, so I think most parents will be able to get a refund if their kid buys $99 worth of smurfberries. After this experience those parents should disable in-app purchases. In Capcom's defense, they have placed obvious warnings in the app store and in the app.

It would be nice if apple added "always require password for purchases" to the parental controls. Or a checkbox that says "keep me logged in for 15 mins" on the purchase window.

I think consumers, and Apple, should solve this "problem" without the aid of the government.

mcapanelli
Feb 23, 2011, 06:40 PM
Please let this serve as public notice of my intentions to bring to market, iParent, a revolutionary new app that allows even the laziest dumb asses to be good parents. Simply type in your parental situation into the app and buy your answer via an in-app purchase. :rolleyes:

LMAO!!!!!!! When do you go public and where can I buy stock? :p

Moyank24
Feb 23, 2011, 06:41 PM
At some point, parents have to take responsibility here.

I would understand the government getting involved if there were no controls in place so this wouldn't happen. But this is ridiculous. Before handing a child a phone, computer, or remote control you should be aware of possible risks and be preactive about preventing them. It seems like it has become so easy now to just blame someone else.

I'm with everyone else...the government has better things to do.

Chupa Chupa
Feb 23, 2011, 07:48 PM
This is appalling. I cannot believe this government intrusion is even legal.

So...where does parenting come into the picture here?! That is the problem with this and many, many other problems in society.

Edit: Posted my response without even reading other comments. Glad to see I'm not alone on this one.

Wait. You live in The People's Republic of Massachusetts and you are astounded by this level of government nanny-ism?

trumpetcollege
Feb 23, 2011, 09:41 PM
The iParent is really LOL funny.
I have watched and seen children lose the concept of consequences for their actions.
Sadly it is sometimes the school that gives the kids the idea that they can do anything. Turn in your home work 2 days late and the teacher says OK.

When I was in school they would throw it away if it was late.

It seems that Congress wants to replace working brains with mindless laws.
I hope this doesn't happen. And yes I do write my Senator and Congressman to express my concerns.

Clint

eNcrypTioN
Feb 23, 2011, 10:46 PM
Lol at the iParent commebt and I think this ia the first topic that everyone has agreed on.

Black107
Feb 24, 2011, 12:43 AM
The company also offers parental controls built into iOS that allow adults to completely disable in app purchasing, although many casual users may be unaware of the option's existence.

RTFM. This is a personal issue and something that doesn't require government involvement. Why should Apple have to re-work the system to account for parents who raise greedy spoiled children?

WestonHarvey1
Feb 24, 2011, 12:44 AM
It's like the extreme right wing has invaded this board. I'd expect at least one defense of government regulations here.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 24, 2011, 01:01 AM
Parents need to grow up and be just that....parents and not the kid's buddy, etc.

We do not need Government to step in here, Apple provides several ways for parents to control this:

Do not give your kids your iTunes password
Setup a unique iTunes account for each child
Setup an allowance on each account
Make sure that the account is link to a prepaid card that only has the allowance amount available on it, most banks offer these for free for your kids and you can automatically transfer funds to it each month, payday, etc. (Ok, this one is technically not Apple's method, but it still exists)
Block in App Purchases using parental controls


Government needs to get involved in some things, for example making sure that companies are not monopolies.

They do not need to be involved in every aspect of our PERSONAL lives!

The job of Government is to:

Keep People Safe (Fire Fighters, Police, Paramedics, enact laws that handle this, etc.)
Ensure that interstate commerce is possible
Education
Handle International Travel Documentation and Immigration

That is all, we need to eliminate all of the other junk that Government does and let people govern themselves, get back to basic liberties that we have lost along the way.

Sad to say that many parents are not tech savvy....

I can only wish that your list of what government should be in control of.... but sadly those that have the money or the loudest voices rule...

I fear these days of the "Republican Majority".... long gone are the days of seeking compromise - witness WI :(

In the end we are a country of the "people" - not the companies that payoff our politicians.....

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 24, 2011, 01:22 AM
edit:

Double post....

michaelsviews
Feb 24, 2011, 05:06 AM
What a waste of taxpayers money. Here is a great idea, learn to be a parent!

I'll second that, maybe if Mommy and Daddy were doing there parenting duties Tax payers dollars would not be wasted because of the bad parenting.

normwood
Feb 24, 2011, 06:05 AM
So....regulators are looking into poor parenting skills! :confused:

Our tax dollars hard(ly) at work.

Steve

normwood
Feb 24, 2011, 06:08 AM
No it is NOT Apple's fault. This is CLEARLY the parents fault.

Agreed.

Phil A.
Feb 24, 2011, 06:23 AM
I'm in two minds here: Firstly, I completely agree that parents should be responsible for their kids, and I don't feel that Apple are in any way culpable for this.

However, I do feel that some of the games publishers are acting in a particularly scummy way and are exploiting this "loophole" to make money from people who are failing to monitor their kids properly.

I was particularly surprised to see a respectable company such as Capcom involved with this shady business - having in-app purchases of up to 60 in a free game is exploitative and leaves a bad taste in the mouth

mcapanelli
Feb 24, 2011, 07:38 AM
It's like the extreme right wing has invaded this board. I'd expect at least one defense of government regulations here.

Don't get me wrong man, your entitled to your own opinion and I respect that, but in what way is it extreme to expect parents to be responsible for their children's actions and not extreme to have government step in and do the job that we're supposed to do ourselves? It amazes me how people, especially the younger generations, have been conditioned to believe that common sense, self reliance, and personal responsibility are far right or extreme thoughts. In my Fathers day that was the norm. Exactly when did we replace reason with trained responses and personal responsibility with government control?

kdarling
Feb 24, 2011, 09:28 AM
Technology should help us.

Imagine if all smartphones had either a multi-user selector, or at the least a "child" mode that was easy to turn on.

Even if you're not a parent, many people have lent their smartphone to a niece or nephew, little brother or sister, to entertain them while on the road or at a restaurant. Heck, I keep one app folder just for my grandkids who are 2 or 3 years old.

Then you and they get frustrated because they hit a Home or Menu key, and you have to get them back into the app they were using.

It'd be great if we could quickly set a kid mode that locks them into a certain app or folder. For that matter, it'd be handy for when you loan your phone to a friend, spouse or boss :)

TwoSocEmBoppers
Feb 24, 2011, 09:59 AM
Wait. You live in The People's Republic of Massachusetts and you are astounded by this level of government nanny-ism?

Hahaha well originally from Southern California. Just going to school out here.

paul4339
Feb 24, 2011, 10:03 AM
i thought you can just turn app purchases off in Parental controls (or does exclude in-app purchases?)

P.

bossxii
Feb 24, 2011, 10:39 AM
What a colossal waste of Taxpayer money.

How about parents get off their lazy ass and actually parent vs shoving a gadget in their kids hands to baby sit em.

What a joke.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 24, 2011, 11:21 AM
What a colossal waste of Taxpayer money.

How about parents get off their lazy ass and actually parent vs shoving a gadget in their kids hands to baby sit em.

What a joke.

What about regulations to protect the consumer from those that find loop holes to make big bucks....

Parents need to do their part, but government needs to try to protect from the greed that that brought us to the mess we are in today....

pika2000
Feb 24, 2011, 12:16 PM
Parents need to do their part, but government needs to try to protect from the greed that that brought us to the mess we are in today....
Oh sure, like the banks for example.... oh wait, the government actually gave them our tax money! :rolleyes:

rdowns
Feb 24, 2011, 01:37 PM
What about regulations to protect the consumer from those that find loop holes to make big bucks....

Parents need to do their part, but government needs to try to protect from the greed that that brought us to the mess we are in today....


Are we really comparing looking into in-app purchases with the crimes committed by Wall Street? Wow.

This is a 100% parental issue. As for Apple, the least they could do (and it might be there) is to post a video teaching parents to use parental controls.

objc
Feb 24, 2011, 06:31 PM
Oooh... looks like we have the faux small-government types coming in! If you're worried about wasting of money, keep in mind that your government spends way more money on propaganda launched at you and empire-building than it does on the federal trade commission.

In addition, you might read up on this and see that this is really douchebag behavior we're talking about where a publisher has a "free" game for kids and then charges $100 multiple times for "smurfberries". That's pretty slimy behavior. The intention is to get a child who doesn't understand it's not play money to have their parents download the app and put in their password, then use the 15-minute window to rob the parents. The parents are thinking this is some harmless game until they get the bill.

I would call this bad parenting if it didn't involve trickery. Do you really expect a child to understand the difference between play money and real money?

I know, personal responsibility begins at 2, unless you're a CEO.

EDIT: maybe the moral of the story is kids shouldn't have iDevices or be allowed to use their parents'.

mcapanelli
Feb 24, 2011, 07:39 PM
Oooh... looks like we have the faux small-government types coming in! If you're worried about wasting of money, keep in mind that your government spends way more money on propaganda launched at you and empire-building than it does on the federal trade commission.

There's nothing "Faux" about me bub. I don't want to spend money on wars, empire building, bailing out banks, paying for ever expanding social programs, propaganda campaigns, the FTC, The FCC, The ATF, the whatever commission we'll implement this week to take care of a make believe problem, OR trying to regulate my app purchases because one of my kids might rack up a bill. I'll take care of my kids, money, and app purchases without government intervention ,thank you. How's that for Faux?

mcapanelli
Feb 24, 2011, 07:54 PM
In addition, you might read up on this and see that this is really douchebag behavior we're talking about where a publisher has a "free" game for kids and then charges $100 multiple times for "smurfberries". That's pretty slimy behavior. The intention is to get a child who doesn't understand it's not play money to have their parents download the app and put in their password, then use the 15-minute window to rob the parents. The parents are thinking this is some harmless game until they get the bill.

I would call this bad parenting if it didn't involve trickery. Do you really expect a child to understand the difference between play money and real money?

It is douchebag behavior, no doubt about it. Why should it be a surprise that a company is trying to trick kids to spend their parents money. While it may be wrong, it's a parents responsibility to be an informed consumer and use the tools given to them to prevent such purchases. Mistakes happen, but does that mean we need the federal nannyment to step in every time something happens we don't like? How does that teach us anything? If you'd like uncle sam to wipe you a$$ that's your problem, or choice as they call it nowadays. But please don't force that "choice" on me because I can wipe my own just fine.


EDIT: maybe the moral of the story is kids shouldn't have iDevices or be allowed to use their parents'.

I get the feeling we most likely don't agree on much politically, but this we can agree on.

benji888
Feb 24, 2011, 09:37 PM
What a waste of taxpayers money. Here is a great idea, learn to be a parent!

AGREED!

This is VERY SIMPLE people! The person with the iTunes account simply needs to SIGN OUT BEFORE handing the device to the child!!


People in this country just don't want to take responsibility for their ignorance! And common sense seems to have gone away at the rapid pace of lawsuits over anything and everything over the last couple decades or so. ...maybe they did this on purpose because they thought they could sue Apple and get big $$$.

benji888
Feb 24, 2011, 09:43 PM
It would be nice if apple added "always require password for purchases" to the parental controls. Or a checkbox that says "keep me logged in for 15 mins" on the purchase window.

I think consumers, and Apple, should solve this "problem" without the aid of the government.

Simple common sense. Let's see if the people at Apple:apple: have this.

I, personally, do not want to have to use my password for every single purchase or update, so I really hope that Apple makes this an option and the government does not get involved and make it so it HAS to be entered for every purchase, that would suck :(

TwoSocEmBoppers
Feb 24, 2011, 10:03 PM
Nothing faux about me either, sir.

Oooh... looks like we have the faux small-government types coming in! If you're worried about wasting of money, keep in mind that your government spends way more money on propaganda launched at you and empire-building than it does on the federal trade commission.

Why should they even spend money on empire-building or the FTC?

In addition, you might read up on this and see that this is really douchebag behavior we're talking about where a publisher has a "free" game for kids and then charges $100 multiple times for "smurfberries". That's pretty slimy behavior. The intention is to get a child who doesn't understand it's not play money to have their parents download the app and put in their password, then use the 15-minute window to rob the parents. The parents are thinking this is some harmless game until they get the bill.

The main problem I have with this statement is that it absolves parents of responsibility. If a parent is going to give a child a several hundred dollar iDevice and do not spend a small amount of time understanding how apps work, then shame on them. Ignorance is no reason for a government investigation and possible future regulation in this area. Furthermore, if this truly was an extremely large problem, the free market would sort it out. If parent are outraged from this type of behavior they would not allow their children to purchase these apps and the company would change their tactics. It's simple really. However, it goes back again to proper parenting.

I would call this bad parenting if it didn't involve trickery. Do you really expect a child to understand the difference between play money and real money?

Not trickery. As a parent, spend a small amount of time and do a Google search on how in-app purchases work. Be proactive.

I know, personal responsibility begins at 2, unless you're a CEO.

Maybe 3 :D

EDIT: maybe the moral of the story is kids shouldn't have iDevices or be allowed to use their parents'.

Winner! Winner! Winner!

EiriasEmrys
Feb 24, 2011, 10:10 PM
I love how innocent they make the kids out to be. Utterly ridiculous. I would have robbed my parents blind with this. "I thought it was smurf coins, mommy - not real money." ********, I would abuse the system. My sister racked up a $350 phone bill the first month she had a phone - in sixth grade. She knew she only had 100 txts back then, that didn't stop her from Txting. Point is, kids are going to download **** when they can, regardless of how many notifications say "warning! Daddy's credit card will be charged." Uh, oh, I better not buy the mightyeagle now!

Interstella5555
Feb 24, 2011, 10:22 PM
...or Apple could allow returns, like every "normal" store.

No normal store allows software returns. Nice try though.

benji888
Feb 24, 2011, 10:45 PM
...Smurf Village is certainly an easy trap. You have to enter your password to download the "free" game, then your kids have 15 minutes to spend real money on in-app purchases...

in-app purchases can be turned off via parental controls/restrictions...have you tried this?:rolleyes:

A) You have to enter your password to download anything!! And after doing so, it is best to reboot your idevice after downloading new apps, this would sign you out automatically.

B) If you don't do that, there is one simple thing you missed here...you had to enter your password to download the game, but once you've done that, you simply need to sign out before handing the device to the child.

C) Don't tell me you can't hold on to your idevice while the app downloads so you can sign out..if your kid has that much control over you, you are not being the parent. Kids CAN wait, just because they fuss doesn't mean they can't. It is called discipline and/or learning to be patient...something that seems to be lost in this country.

... some of the games publishers are acting in a particularly scummy way and are exploiting this "loophole" to make money from people who are failing to monitor their kids properly...

Alright, if this is the case, then the problem is not with Apple, but the game publishers.
...AND the adult owners of the idevices.

I think this needs to be highlighted:Parents need to grow up and be just that....parents and not the kid's buddy, etc.

We do not need Government to step in here, Apple provides several ways for parents to control this:

Do not give your kids your iTunes password
Setup a unique iTunes account for each child
Setup an allowance on each account
Make sure that the account is link to a prepaid card that only has the allowance amount available on it, most banks offer these for free for your kids and you can automatically transfer funds to it each month, payday, etc. (Ok, this one is technically not Apple's method, but it still exists)
Block in App Purchases using parental controls


lastly, I am not conservative nor liberal, not republican nor democrat, I just use common sense!

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 25, 2011, 12:44 AM
Are we really comparing looking into in-app purchases with the crimes committed by Wall Street? Wow.

This is a 100% parental issue. As for Apple, the least they could do (and it might be there) is to post a video teaching parents to use parental controls.

Not every consumer is as tech savvy as the rest of us... same goes as to the bad loans by greedy mortgage lenders...

I maybe wrong here; but given that Apple gets 30% of apps and in-app purchases - they have little reason to do the right thing and prevent abuses....

They are guilty as well charging $199 for Aperture on an install for a new Mac... when the same user that is in the "know" can get it from the Mac App Store for $79....

kdarling
Feb 25, 2011, 01:28 AM
Throughout the attempts to lay blame on parents, there is a bogus assumption that the 15 minute password time extension is obvious and/or that parental restriction ability is known or easy to use.

Millions of people buy the iPhone because it's supposed to be "intuitive" and NOT require reading a manual or spending time researching every Settings menu. (Just look at all the fanboys claiming Android is "harder" because it has more options.)

Not only are in-app restrictions buried in Settings where it's not quick to get to, but worse: in typical Apple iOS fashion there's no way to set a purchase option per app... it's only a global setting.

Since Apple is quick to refund such mistaken in-app purchases, even they have tacitly acknowledged that there is a problem.

So it's likely that a change will be made. If you were an Apple developer given the task to fix the problem, what would you do?


The easiest solution is to simply remove the time extension. However, that might impact app sales slightly, and would be a real pain when updating apps since Apple requires a password even for that.

At the least, add a warning about the extension each time you enter your password. D'oh! What was hidden is now clear.

When installing an app with in-app purchases, note that to the user and/or give them the immediate option of setting the no-purchase flag.

Better yet, add per-app restrictions so the poor user doesn't have to flip settings before handing it over.

Other ideas?

kiljoy616
Feb 25, 2011, 03:47 AM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

I was about to comment on the same thing, holy enchilada :rolleyes: so now parents can't figure out how to lock their kids out :eek: and have to get the government to do it for them, are people just getting dumber :p as time goes, people you should not contribute to the gene pool it could hurt our long term survival as a species.

kiljoy616
Feb 25, 2011, 03:52 AM
Throughout the attempts to lay blame on parents, there is a bogus assumption that the 15 minute password time extension is obvious and/or that parental restriction ability is known or easy to use.

Millions of people buy the iPhone because it's supposed to be "intuitive" and NOT require reading a manual or spending time researching every Settings menu. (Just look at all the fanboys claiming Android is "harder" because it has more options.)

Not only are in-app restrictions buried in Settings where it's not quick to get to, but worse: in typical Apple iOS fashion there's no way to set a purchase option per app... it's only a global setting.

Since Apple is quick to refund such mistaken in-app purchases, even they have tacitly acknowledged that there is a problem.

So it's likely that a change will be made. If you were an Apple developer given the task to fix the problem, what would you do?


The easiest solution is to simply remove the time extension. However, that might impact app sales slightly, and would be a real pain when updating apps since Apple requires a password even for that.

At the least, add a warning about the extension each time you enter your password. D'oh! What was hidden is now clear.

When installing an app with in-app purchases, note that to the user and/or give them the immediate option of setting the no-purchase flag.

Better yet, add per-app restrictions so the poor user doesn't have to flip settings before handing it over.

Other ideas?

Yes one more, parents pull your collective head out of your *** and think. I understand Apple products are supposedly simpler but come on. I wonder if kids driving will be the next thing they will bitch about.

Turn it off globally and if your kids are a pain in the gluteus maximums
Download what you want your kids to play to your computer, and only allow games thru the sync. I liked your suggestions but come on have the average American just gotten dumb from to much Opra. :rolleyes:

kiljoy616
Feb 25, 2011, 04:00 AM
AGREED!

This is VERY SIMPLE people! The person with the iTunes account simply needs to SIGN OUT BEFORE handing the device to the child!!


People in this country just don't want to take responsibility for their ignorance! And common sense seems to have gone away at the rapid pace of lawsuits over anything and everything over the last couple decades or so. ...maybe they did this on purpose because they thought they could sue Apple and get big $$$.

What the H*ll you want people to be responsible and think, now dare you sir, this is a country build on dumb and dumber if you just read the news. Yes i was been sarcastic. :D

But serious I know enough people to know todays average parent does not even know what the kids grades are less how to manage something as sophisticated as a Ipod Itouch. :o

I mean that thing is like brain surgery, in no way should they have to look at the setting and see what is possible, or even call up the browser and do a search. pfft how dare you ask so much ;)

Phil A.
Feb 25, 2011, 04:14 AM
Alright, if this is the case, then the problem is not with Apple, but the game publishers.
...AND the adult owners of the idevices.


Agree 100% - as I said in my original post, I don't think Apple are in any way culpable here: It's not their job to set prices for apps or in-app purchases. I also think Parents need to accept responsibility and watch their kids more carefully.

My only issue with this is the exploitative behavior of the publishers of the Apps - I can't think of any reason for charging the huge prices they do apart from someone thinking "Some parents are dumb and won't know how to stop their kids spending huge wads of cash on in-app purchases. We can make loads of money by using this to our advantage".
That shouldn't be what in-app purchases are used for: even if it doesn't break any rules, it's not at all ethical.
I know businesses exist to make money, but they shouldn't do it in an unethical and immoral way IMO.

ptuxbury
Feb 25, 2011, 06:38 AM
It isn't all tweens that are doing this. My 3-year old son was playing with my iPod Touch. I installed the free app Touch Zoo, thinking it was something I could keep him occupied with.

Well, within the next 15 minutes he bought 10 bags of stars - something I didn't know about until I received the $10 invoice from Apple the next day. He didn't know what he was doing - he was just randomly pressing buttons.

Now, to be honest, I had a feeling this might happen someday (the boy seems to get into EVERYTHING), and $10 is a small price to pay for a lesson learned for me. So I disabled the ability to install apps on that iPod Touch. Just for good measure, he's been banned from iPod Touch use unless it's a circumstance when he's fidgety and I need to keep him busy (like at the grocery store or a restaurant). Thank goodness he didn't purchase 100 bags of stars.

Still, it would be nice to have an option (in the restrictions menu) to require the password to be entered every time an app is purchased. That would make my life easier.

While we're at it, the boy almost deleted some videos of himself from my iPhone. I would have been upset, because they were videos from when he was a baby. Can we get another option in the restrictions menu that prevents photos from being deleted?

ptuxbury
Feb 25, 2011, 06:45 AM
An another note, everybody makes mistakes. I don't think it's necessary to insult some of the parents posting here for their struggles with their children. I bet a lot of the insults come from people who aren't even parents themselves, so they wouldn't have a clue about the complexities, difficulties, and stresses associated with being a parent.

These parents already have their hands full without someone else (who probably doesn't understand anyway) insulting them.

fifthworld
Feb 25, 2011, 08:41 AM
Agree 100% - as I said in my original post, I don't think Apple are in any way culpable here: It's not their job to set prices for apps or in-app purchases. I also think Parents need to accept responsibility and watch their kids more carefully.

My only issue with this is the exploitative behavior of the publishers of the Apps - I can't think of any reason for charging the huge prices they do apart from someone thinking "Some parents are dumb and won't know how to stop their kids spending huge wads of cash on in-app purchases. We can make loads of money by using this to our advantage".
That shouldn't be what in-app purchases are used for: even if it doesn't break any rules, it's not at all ethical.
I know businesses exist to make money, but they shouldn't do it in an unethical and immoral way IMO.

Agree. Doesn't matter if parents are at fault or not, like most of the post are establishing, exploitative behavior should not be tolerated.

rhomsy
Feb 25, 2011, 10:14 AM
Not every consumer is as tech savvy as the rest of us... same goes as to the bad loans by greedy mortgage lenders...


That is a bunch of BS too. Greedy mortgage lenders, or greedy homeowners, which is it? I could see the argument when mortgages were difficult to figure out, but then the industry got regulated with Truth in Lending, etc. The Truth in Lending Statement is a simple one page statement, in plain english, that breaks down the loan, and the borrower's commitment, in elementary school terms. Example: you have to pay $1,985.00 per month, for the next 30 years.

So what happens, idiots sign it, take the loan, usually take a payout too as part of the loan, and then later file a claim against the bank saying they never could afford the loan. What???????

With freedom comes responsibility. If you don't want the responsibility of what happens when you can't pay the loan, then you lose your freedom. If the law becomes (if it already hasn't), that you can get out of loans, scott free when it goes bad, and it has to be crystal clear on the bank's part that you have more than enough $$$$ to pay the loan under all circumstances, then do you really think banks will be giving out loans to lower-middle class families. NOOOOO. They will forever be stuck as renters. They lost the ability to take the risk, if they chose, to do something different with their money and their lives.

I deal with this crap every day. I see some moron do a refi to take money out for a business venture. The venture doesn't pan-out, and he gets foreclosed. Then he cries to the court that he never should have gotten the loan. He took a risk, and it failed. Why is that the bank's fault. Now, he and others in his position, will lose the ability to take that risk to try to better themselves. The government isn't protecting them, they are entrenching them in their current class, and making it impossible for them to advance. They've taken away their freedom.

w0by
Feb 26, 2011, 08:27 AM
If a parent doesn't want their kid to purchase items on the App store..then they shouldn't be giving their kids UNLIMITED USE OF A CREDIT CARD ONLINE!!! Omg how simple is that? People are RIDICULOUS!!!!!! QUIT blaming other people for being STUPID. My parents would've never given me an ulimited use credit card to put on my online Apple account. GET REAL. Why do people continue to blame everyone else for their problems? Kids are Kids because they need to be monitored, not given a credit card to buy whatever they want, and then the parents getting mad at Apple because they didn't monitor their kids purchases.

w0by
Feb 26, 2011, 08:36 AM
I'm not sure how you have your ipod set up, but you need to turn off one touch purchasing in iTunes I believe..this will make sure you type in a password to buy/install apps. I'm the only one that uses my ipod/iphone and I still have that turned on just in case it goes missing and someone decides to buy everything in sight.

It isn't all tweens that are doing this. My 3-year old son was playing with my iPod Touch. I installed the free app Touch Zoo, thinking it was something I could keep him occupied with.

Well, within the next 15 minutes he bought 10 bags of stars - something I didn't know about until I received the $10 invoice from Apple the next day. He didn't know what he was doing - he was just randomly pressing buttons.

Now, to be honest, I had a feeling this might happen someday (the boy seems to get into EVERYTHING), and $10 is a small price to pay for a lesson learned for me. So I disabled the ability to install apps on that iPod Touch. Just for good measure, he's been banned from iPod Touch use unless it's a circumstance when he's fidgety and I need to keep him busy (like at the grocery store or a restaurant). Thank goodness he didn't purchase 100 bags of stars.

Still, it would be nice to have an option (in the restrictions menu) to require the password to be entered every time an app is purchased. That would make my life easier.

While we're at it, the boy almost deleted some videos of himself from my iPhone. I would have been upset, because they were videos from when he was a baby. Can we get another option in the restrictions menu that prevents photos from being deleted?

nateo200
Feb 26, 2011, 09:16 PM
Here we go kids!! Expect lot's of grandstanding and some real knee jerk legislation cause this IS the year to gear up for the big election. I wish someone would inform people that it's their responsibility to be informed consumers AND parents. My kid racked up $380 in cell downloads in one month. I didn't need my senator to step in. I took away her phone for a month, blocked her ability to purchase ANYTHING on it, and worked out the bill with my provider (AT&T) who practically wiped it all away. This is just going to burden us with more laws and subsequently, more taxes in the form of direct taxation of products, indirect taxes by way of price hikes due to a rise in business tax, or BOTH.

Wow some semi-competent parenting here quality bravo that's something America needs more widespread these days, well at least around here. Break your iPhone? No problem dady's an Anesthesiologist mom's a lawyer just by you a new one! Crash your birthday gift an Audi S4 into a telephone pole while screwing around? No problem momy's best friends with the town judge! (yes true stories). Ranting aside this is so rediculous. This would be like if the FCC was called in to monitor how files are transfered around my home network, aka something pity that should be left to these things we call parents. BTW putting a credit card into a kids iPhone is the dumbest idea in the world. You can teach them the value of a dollar if instead you give them an iTunes card and tell them its the only one there getting for X amount of time.

alex1978
Feb 26, 2011, 10:05 PM
you are so right

neurobound
Feb 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."


That's probably where you and most people misunderstand the role of government. Through the consent of many people, the government is responsible for the current state of our economy, thanks to the high taxation, regulation (more often favoring a large corporation rather than smaller business) and social programs promising far more than they ever could ever practically provide.

Just ask yourself, with our government spending record amounts of tax dollars. Handing out more unemployment and welfare dollars than ever - more more than any government in the world, by far - shouldn't we be more prosperous than ever?

These booms and bust's don't just... happen. Give up the faith in this idea that government MICROMANAGEMENT is going to save us. The burden of this economy could swiftly be lifted off our shoulders if people would recognize the necessity to strip funding to all unconstitutional programs. We could be prosperous again if we the people would collectively recognize that to fix these problems, small steps can't be taken, but immediate... radical legislative progress that guts the current budget and corporate favoritism and military empire.

Regulation isn't inherently a bad thing - it can be a law we all agree on, however if we look more closely at regulation we usually get, it's often a law that's built to favor a particular party, quite often the larger corporation. Shouldn't the law be equal to all? It is for this reason many of us are against so many regulations, they hurt small businesses, and ultimately the average person.

This isn't about government vs rich as so many people seem to get stuck on. Some of the rich that so many people hate, virtually OWN the government. So why continue to fund their efforts as we have for way too long now?

The constitution for the united states, if we can't agree on that single document, the law of the land that define's the limits of our government's authority...then what hope do we have to agree on anything?

Jessica Lares
Feb 28, 2011, 11:00 PM
You can teach them the value of a dollar if instead you give them an iTunes card and tell them its the only one there getting for X amount of time.

That is what I do with my brother. And I think this is a better method than using the allowance account. How many people get paid on the 1st anyway? It's usually the 15th.

The big problem with In-App purchasing is the fact that you can spend $0.99, but you also have the option of spending $100+. You could literally buy a new iPhone with that money, even food for a month. Those cards for like IMVU and Neopets that you can buy at the grocery store/Best Buy, DON'T go for more than $50. Same with Wii and Xbox Live.

neko girl
Feb 28, 2011, 11:06 PM
Imagine if all smartphones had either a multi-user selector, or at the least a "child" mode that was easy to turn on.
I agree, a kiosk mode could be helpful. There is an app that will do this for jailbroken phones but it is not practical for the average user.

I also think that the ability to password protect photo albums should be included as a feature..

ment
Mar 1, 2011, 02:08 AM
:confused::confused::confused:In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

Timeraner
Mar 1, 2011, 02:17 PM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

Point and match.

Mhkobe
Mar 2, 2011, 12:23 AM
In-app purchase can be disabled using parental control. This is stupid. I expect my tax to be used by my government to tackle bigger problems, oh maybe like jobs and the economy, not to appease some idiot "parents."

You are completely right. I would also like to say that the distinction between in app purchases and in game purchases is very clear, the only step that must be taken is for parents to teach their children the difference. As time goes on it seems that more and more people believe that the solution to all their problems is government action. There are many cases where government intervention is required, however, when there is such a simple solution it is illogical for government to get involved.

tvguy
Mar 2, 2011, 12:15 PM
for a small sum of a $1billion usd, i volunteer to watch over the innocent children and their purchases. I will smack their little fingers with a a bamboo cane. Suddenly this reminds me of that south park episode where they started smacking "add" kids. "sit down and study." i think parents need to get caned then schooled into using parental controls

+1

charlituna
Mar 4, 2011, 09:22 PM
Here we go kids!! Expect lot's of grandstanding and some real knee jerk legislation cause this IS the year to gear up for the big election. I wish someone would inform people that it's their responsibility to be informed consumers AND parents. My kid racked up $380 in cell downloads in one month. I didn't need my senator to step in. I took away her phone for a month, blocked her ability to purchase ANYTHING on it, and worked out the bill with my provider (AT&T) who practically wiped it all away. This is just going to burden us with more laws and subsequently, more taxes in the form of direct taxation of products, indirect taxes by way of price hikes due to a rise in business tax, or BOTH.

All well and good but why didn't you make her pay the full bill herself? Gets the point across real good when that money you were saving up goes bye bye. Or half your allowance for a very long time

Genocide
Jun 8, 2011, 09:14 AM
...or Apple could allow returns, like every "normal" store.

What store allows returns for open/used software? None, because with software the ability to copy/burn to create a duplicate is to easy.