U.S. Regulators Looking Into Kids' Overspending on In App Purchases

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    The Washington Post reports 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.
    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
  2. macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    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."
  3. macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2007
    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.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2009
    What a waste of taxpayers money. Here is a great idea, learn to be a parent!
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2004
    Fort Wayne, IN
    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
  6. macrumors 601


    Oct 24, 2007
    Seattle, Wa
    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??

  7. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2009
    I lol'd :D
  8. macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2008
    Whitestone, NY
    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.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2009
    Amazing, a parent that actually does what they are supposed to.
  10. macrumors 68030

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    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???
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2008
    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:
    1. Do not give your kids your iTunes password
    2. Setup a unique iTunes account for each child
    3. Setup an allowance on each account
    4. 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)
    5. 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.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    New York
    Thank you.
  13. macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    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:
  14. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Sunny Southern California
    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.
  15. macrumors regular


    Feb 23, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    Yes correct, this is the parents fault. Its called parenting or should the government send you a check to do that every month too!
  16. macrumors 68030

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    Lol... Great idea, wish you luck :D
  17. macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2005
    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.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2008
    Easy fix

    Just make it so you can turn off the 15 minute unlock in the settings. It could even be defaulted to be off.
  19. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    ...or Apple could allow returns, like every "normal" store.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2007
    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.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2007
    No it is NOT Apple's fault. This is CLEARLY the parents fault.
  22. macrumors 601


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    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.
  23. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    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....
  24. macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2009
    hillarious - rofl.

    enjoyed that immensely. thank you for the post.

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

    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.

    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.
  25. macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA

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