FTC parenting needed? Children spending on in app purchases

• 10/02/2011

This little news item should serve as a bit of a wake-up call to parents out there.

There is an alarmingly increasing number of parents who are concerned because when they receive their credit card statements they realize their kids have been charging up in app purchases – some to the tune of over $1300!

There is definitely cause for concern.  At what age does a child start to understand the value of money and curb their spending?  Usually once they start making their own money, one would speculate, and therefore there is an outcry to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch a formal investigation in the matter.

In his letter to the FTC [PDF file] US Representative Edward Markey specifically cites how app developers are targeting a child’s ignorance of the monetary system in order to make a living.

While this may be the case, we wonder if perhaps the parents are leaving the real educating and parenting to the FTC rather than taking a proactive stand in the home.  Quite possibly.

If a parent has gifted an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to their child and this child can successfully operate it and even go so far as to confirm in app purchases, then likely they are intelligent enough to learn the value of money and how to spend it properly.

For concerned parents out there, we’re not going to tell you how to raise your kids but perhaps it might be a wise idea to not give them free access to your credit card, lest you be shocked when a $1300 bill arrives for silly junk that’s been downloaded on your kid’s phone.

Perhaps it might prove wise to show your kids how money works by setting up their own bank account and making them pay for each and every purchase they want on their device.  They likely won’t be so willing to just buy every single thing that comes along without realizing where the money is going.  If they do, they’ll learn their own lesson pretty quick when there’s no money left.

If your kids are really tech savvy but just too young to really grasp money, there is still hope.  Ever heard of a pre-loaded iTunes Gift Card.  Give them one of those and when the card is empty they might start to understand how fast their click-buy habit drains their play money and start to be more conscious of what they’re buying.

At the risk of sounding really old and miserly … what the heck are 8-year old kids doing with their own iPad anyways?  The cynic in me wants to say their parents must already be loaded so who the heck cares if they get a $1300 credit card statement, they must be able to afford that no problem.  But that’s a bit of a blanket statement and judgmental, so strike it from the record.

[Source – IntoMobile]

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Tags: app developers, apps, children using apps, children using technology, credit card, FTC, FTC investigation, iphone, parenting, Rant, technology

Category: news

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