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Apple Moves To Stop Kids Racking Up iTunes Bills

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-bad-children? dept.

The Almighty Buck 232

Xacid writes "Apple Inc. has changed how purchases inside iPhone and iPad games are authorized after customers complained that their kids were racking up hundreds of dollars worth of charges. The issue was that after a user entered his or her iTunes password on a device, the device didn't prompt for the password again for 15 minutes. Any purchases, whether in the iTunes store or inside kid-friendly games such as 'The Smurf's Village,' went through without a new password prompt. This meant that parents who handed over their iPhones or iPads to their kids were sometimes shocked by large purchases of 'Smurfberries' and other virtual bling."

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Sounds like... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508424)

... it's a parenting problem.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508444)

... Apple is offering a technical solution to the problem.

Re:Sounds like... (2)

bl4nk (607569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508482)

Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that parents work the problem out with their children.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508520)

Spoken like a non-parent.

Re:Sounds like... (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508608)

Speaking as a parent, if my daughter did this (and I would be shocked if she did), I would make damn sure sufficient wrath descended upon her that she'd never do it again. Firstly, for stealing from her father, and secondly, for spending money on stupid shit.

If your kids don't think their actions have consequences, you're doing it wrong. Your job isn't to insulate them from the world, it's just to put safety wheels on it until they can ride it safely.

Re:Sounds like... (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508702)

How is this not a safety-wheel?

Yeah, racking up a $1500 cell phone bill should be sufficient to teach your kid about the consequences of it unless he's a moron, but it's a pretty expensive lesson to even happen once.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509318)

$1500 is comically extreme.

Re:Sounds like... (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508846)

Blame the victim much? You really don't understand the issue here. How about explaining scams and cons to your daughter, maybe explain that imaginary smurfberries cost real money, that a single ring tone costs $4.99 a month, and various other absurdities of online commerce. What, you think these kids are knowingly racking up that amount of debt? Yeah, then I've got a bridge to sell you, sucker.

What makes you think this is about kids not understanding the consequences of their actions, rather than online scams and shady business practices? I despise smugly superior people who take the phrase "let the buyer beware" to mean "any con against an unaware buyer is fair game." Stop blaming the victim. Stop criticizing legitimate efforts by businesses to address the concerns of their customers. It's almost as if you want these people to lose money, so you can feel superior to them. Do you perhaps feel that social Darwinism will not weed out the "inferior" people if we protect them from human predators? Maybe you think the predators, being stronger, should have more rights than the weak and stupid? I don't know. I really can't even fathom a mindset like yours.

Re:Sounds like... (3, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508892)

Because the amount of gray area scams out there are LIMITLESS.

You must learn how to keep an eye out for this stuff, and the best time to really learn is when you're a poor kid.

You don't do your kids any favors by sending them out the door wrapped head to toe in pillows.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508940)

Right, because giving parents a tool to combat unauthorized purchases is the equivalent of sending your kid out into the world wrapped in a pillow.

Re:Sounds like... (5, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509234)

Speaking as a parent, if my son were young enough again to be interested in Smurfberries, I'd likely figure that he didn't know what he was doing; also, punishing a child for something he or she doesn't understand is stupid and unfair. I also have no idea how to teach a child that young that touching buttons on a phone is (a) stealing money, or (b) spending money (or, for that matter, that Smurfberries are stupid).

My son was aware that actions have consequences from an early age, but when he was four he really wasn't good at predicting those consequences, particularly in an environment set up to scam him. I was a lot older than that before I realized that money was more than pieces of metal and paper, but also those numbers in the bank books.

Consequently, some sort of safety wheel to make sure they don't inadvertantly spend large amounts of money strikes me as a real good idea.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508968)

Spoken like a non-parent.

Man, I wish I hadn't used up all of my mod points yesterday.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

greyline (1052440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508466)

That's modern parenting for you... plop your kid in front of the TV (in their bed room, of course), or Wii, or iPad, or whatever other gadget, and get them out of your hair for a couple hours after work until they pass out, exhausted, from extensive video screen stimulation.

Re:Sounds like... (3, Interesting)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508746)

That's modern parenting for you... plop your kid in front of the TV (in their bed room, of course), or Wii, or iPad, or whatever other gadget, and get them out of your hair for a couple hours after work until they pass out, exhausted, from extensive video screen stimulation.

Really? You think that's how this stuff happens?

I will hand my young son my phone with the Talking Tomcat "ca-caty!" application when I have to wait in a long checkout/service/wahtever line, lest I be holding a screaming toddler who -- like any 2.5-year-old -- prefers to run around the store rather than stand still for 10 minutes.

However, there is a link in the app to download extra features and animals, and even at his age, he can access it quite easily. I can't imagine what kind of charges I would have racked up in the thirty seconds I spend paying for groceries or arguing with Customer Service if my Android phone didn't require extra authorization before making purchases.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509246)

Truer words. @greyline is likely not a parent else he wouldn't be spouting stereotypes.

Re:Sounds like... (2, Informative)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509306)

I will hand my young son my phone with the Talking Tomcat "ca-caty!" application when I have to wait in a long checkout/service/wahtever line, lest I be holding a screaming toddler who -- like any 2.5-year-old -- prefers to run around the store rather than stand still for 10 minutes.

There's the problem. You're rewarding bad behavior: If child misbehaves, child gets a toy. Instead, teach that such behavior is not acceptable, and then offer the reward after you get home if they behave in the store.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508932)

Of course, kids would benefit greatly from spending ALL their time with parents.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508952)

That's modern parenting for you... plop your kid in front of the TV (in their bed room, of course), or Wii, or iPad, or whatever other gadget, and get them out of your hair for a couple hours after work until they pass out, exhausted, from extensive video screen stimulation.

So if the kid is doing an activity for a couple hours unattended the parents are rubbish at parenting?

The must completely helicopter the child, and be orbiting within 3 feet at all times, continually interacting from the moment the child wakes up until they fall asleep.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509000)

I don't see how a kid sitting in front of a TV, Wii, iPad or whatever other gadget is any better than the old way of kicking your kids out of the house and not letting them come back until dark like previous generations did it. Assuming your kid isn't a fat-body and is getting a reasonable amount of exercise it's not "better parenting" for your kid to be swinging on a swing in the back yard instead of playing a video game.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508474)

Not necessarily. In a lot of games the "premium" features are in there just like other in-game money only with an extra dialogue saying that you will be charged for it. Depending on the game, there might already be a dialogue asking if you if you really want to select the item.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508570)

Then again, why would you want to buy your kid a game where they are encouraged to spend money on virtual stuff? Isn't that just repetitive training in rampant and mindless consumerism? Do you really want your kid to grow up associating "fun" with "buy bling"?

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508706)

how do you think we're planning on getting out of this recession?

We need mindless spending on crappy stuff! It's for God and Country! Think of the children....oh wait

Re:Sounds like... (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508712)

Because there are very few games without DLC today. And often times fun is associated with a cost, the point is to find the balance. For example, is a new video game fun? (In some cases) Yes. But is it worth $60 new to get it right away? It depends. Those are the questions that people have to deal with, is it worth it to buy it now? To buy it when you can get it for $30 used? To buy it late in the life of the console for only $10? To never buy it?

To shelter a kid from the real world where people -are- pressured to buy everything is counterproductive. Rather, use technical means to make sure that the kid can't spend more than they have (such as a gift-card only account). Sure, they might "waste" some money on pointless things, but eventually they will learn what they like and what they don't and they will be better prepared to spend money when they get larger amounts.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508518)

Partially, yes. But it doesn't help when you have Apple offering the "convenience" of charging you for shit without bothering to ask for your account details again. There's nothing inherently wrong with letting you kid play around with your iWhatever for a few minutes, and I'd imagine it's far too easy to forget that they could click through and buy stuff without you knowing.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509004)

So Dad, no I don't need the keys to the honda. Just authorize this purchase of candy while I download that Mercedes App....

Sort of... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508692)

How would a kid know that answering 'yes' to "do you want some smurfberries?" is going to cost money?

The problem will most likely go away once the parent has figured out that the shiny toy they put in their kid's hands has hidden "spend money" buttons in it. Once bitten, etc.

The real blame here is on the people who set up an automatic billing system which allows the parents to get bitten even once, ie. Apple. All purchases should require a password.

In other news... (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508446)

...parents left cookies on the table and were shocked to find that their children ate them when they weren't looking.

Re:In other news... (2)

bl4nk (607569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508462)

Said parents are now organizing a class action lawsuit against all manufacturers of cookie and cookie-like products.

Re:In other news... (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508626)

"This make Cookie Monster very sad!'

Re:In other news... (3, Funny)

specialguy92 (1974828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508698)

You're living in the past. The Veggie Moster is indifferent to the cookies' suffering.

Re:In other news... (1)

teslafreak (684543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508494)

Apple is now working on a way to impede the consumtion of cookies for all parties involved, in hopes that a few of the people who were unaware they were being eaten will be greatful for the change.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508532)

Apple is now asking if you really want seconds on those cookies in an attempt to fight childhood obesity.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508568)

Apple is now asking if you really want seconds on those cookies in an attempt to fight childhood obesity

Smurfberries are better for you. I almost have enough to purchase smurfetts house.

Re:In other news... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508562)

...parents left cookies on the table and were shocked to find that their children ate them when they weren't looking.

Don't worry, citizens! Your elected officials are on the case! Legislation is being introduced requiring safety locks on all cookie jars sold in the United States. Rumor has it that an Anti-Cookie-Trafficking Agreement is also in the works that would extend these protections around the world!

Re:In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508642)

If the cookies were eaten immediately, there would be no problem. The problem is that cookies persisted for 15 minutes, allowing the child to run up charges.

Re:In other news... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509096)

To be fair, it's more like unlocking the cubboard, taking some cookies out for the kids, relocking it, and then finding our your kids ransacked it because the relocking takes 15 minutes to take effect.

At least, that's how I imagine parents would perceive it.

Re:In other news... (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509338)

So, what you mean is, that it's more like unlocking the cupboard, taking some cookies out for the kids, leaving the cupboard open with the assumption that it eventually locks itself back, and then finding your kids ransacked it because you didn't care enough to read the manual which states that re-locking takes 15 minutes to take effect.

The fact that you yourself have noticed that you are able to take more than one cookie at a time for a short time after unlocking it did not cross your mind either.

        -dZ.

Re:In other news... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509178)

...parents left cookies on the table and were shocked to find that their children ate them when they weren't looking.

... and were quite relieved that the kids stopped once the jar was empty (rather than Nabisco coming to "helpfully" refill it, again and again, and billing the parents for this wonderful service...)

Careful... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508468)

This is EXACTLY what lead to the big die-off of the dinosaurs.

Re:Careful... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508500)

Exactly. I've been saying that iProducts are weapons of mass extinction events for years, but people just wouldn't listen.

Re:Careful... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508576)

Exactly. I've been saying that iProducts are weapons of mass extinction events for years, but people just wouldn't listen.

No... The dinosaurs had less sampled, repetitive and mind-numbing music, so their brains woke up and started to function.

The first thing they did was realize they didn't get along with each other.

The second thing they did was become polarized politically.

The third thing they did was elect that stupid diplodocus from Gondwanaland as President.

The forth thing they did was a huge military build up.

The fifth thing they did was use it against themselves.

Meanwhile, the early mammals saw this coming and hid in their burrows until it was all over.

Re:Careful... (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509162)

But the EULA says they can't be!

Followup Story. (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508546)

Apple iOS update blamed for 90% reduced revenue for small game developers.

40% of small game developers have gone out of business since this change.

BAD APPLE.

It's about time (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508484)

Thank god they wised up and put in a new password prompt for in-game purchases. Now all they have to do is sit back and wait for the complaints to come in that "my kids said 'hey what's the password?' and then I got hundreds of dollars of racked up charges." Never mind the fact that they have a KID'S GAME that includes paying for virtual nothingness. I guess Steve's new motto is "get them addicted early."

Re:It's about time (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508564)

You have to draw the line somewhere, but the whole notion that online retailers insist upon saving your credit information is absurd. Beyond the tendency to overspend, there's also the issue of all of a sudden you have to worry about somebody stealing the details and running up large bills with stolen credit card details.

Re:It's about time (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508732)

Exactly. The whole notion that it should be as easy as possible to spend money is rooted in the corporation's desire for us to not think twice about it.

Back when Blockbuster was relevant, (and gamefly didn't exist) they had an all-you-can-rent plan for games. The one requirement to signing up was that you needed to use a genuine credit card, not a bank-backed credit/debit card but a genuine going-into-debt card. What's the difference? The real credit card won't stop you from spending beyond your limit; ergo they get their money no matter what even if you can't technically afford it.

Easy spending is an epidemic (in most western nations at least) just as bad as easy eating, and we just keep lining up to support the companies that are sucking us in.

Re:It's about time (2)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509164)

The one requirement to signing up was that you needed to use a genuine credit card, not a bank-backed credit/debit card but a genuine going-into-debt card. What's the difference? The real credit card won't stop you from spending beyond your limit; ergo they get their money no matter what even if you can't technically afford it.

The rental car companies have the exact same requirement: You must make the reservation with a credit card, although you can eventually pay the bill with a debit card. The reason was so they could put a hold on enough funds to cover the payment plus the damages if you totaled the car (note this is not the value of the entire car, but the limited "deductible" you agree to in the contract).

Very often, when they put a hold on this amount on a debit card, it pushed the underlying checking account into overdraft, or at least locked up enough funds that the card holder couldn't use the card for anything else. With a credit card, this doesn't cause problems unless the cardholder has nearly maxed out their credit limit.

Perhaps Blockbuster was putting a hold on the amount of money needed to replace the game if it wasn't returned? With a debit card, they would have encountered the problem I described above, albeit on a lesser magnitude.

Re:It's about time (4, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508784)

You have to draw the line somewhere, but the whole notion that online retailers insist upon saving your credit information is absurd. Beyond the tendency to overspend, there's also the issue of all of a sudden you have to worry about somebody stealing the details and running up large bills with stolen credit card details.

Retailers need to store credit cards to issue refunds on returns. After that time period, I think they should delete the info. In reality, it can be tricky to clean up all references to data.

Re:It's about time (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509030)

No, they don't. They need the transaction id, nothing more.

I know, we do CC transactions all the time and never have a CC number longer than the time it takes for a web page to pass it off to authorize.net. We can still easily refund the transaction or adjust the value down if need be.

There are also methods for recurring billing that do basically the same thing, we get a reference ID, at the end of the billing period we send a 'bill these reference IDs for the price determined when the reference was setup' and they return a list of successful and unsuccessful transactions.

Authorize.NET handles all the work for us, allowing us to not be bound by all the rules of PCI and not having to worry so much about what happens if your DB gets hacked, we have no CC numbers for anyone to steal.

Re:It's about time (2)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508850)

You have to draw the line somewhere, but the whole notion that online retailers insist upon saving your credit information is absurd.

Meh. You're talking about something that goes wrong about 0.001% of the time... and in cases of outright fraud, the consumer typically isn't even held responsible by their credit card issuer.

Here's a radical idea: how about if parents try applying some actual discipline? Before making online commerce less convenient for everyone else, can we try that and see if it works?

Re:It's about time (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508666)

I wonder if there's a $1 fee for prompting for password in-game? That could balance things out for their books, royalty wise, wouldn't it? Of course, it's venal, but hey, who said they were saints anyway?

Re:It's about time (2)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508680)

Hey, those carts of virtual berries cost $100 (IIRC, even if it's $20 that's freaking insane!), and of course Apple won't do anything about it, since, hey, the Don gets a 30% cut!

Re:It's about time (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508736)

o_o
"You found a treasure chest."
O_o
"It's a big SHINY treasure chest."
O_O
"It's probably full of really neat stuff!"
@_@
"Buy a key? Only $10. (Y/n)"

Re:It's about time (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508808)

Yeah, and now the kid's whining about wanting to see what's in the treasure chest... pretty fucking evil of the game-maker, but heh, look at FarmVille, the VC's love it! I can already see how the game won't be doable without using something inside that treasure chest.

Maybe I should make a clone of that "Am I rich?" app that cost $1000-1, call it "diamond collector" and let the users collect 200 dollar images of colored stones, which are purchasable within a 2-week window only. Get it now to complete your collection, miss the window and forever have a gap in your collection!

(Or pay $500 to purchase missing items! 3-day offer only!)

Re:It's about time (1)

sartin (238198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508716)

Never mind the fact that they have a KID'S GAME that includes paying for virtual nothingness.

I've actually found the in-app purchases to be excellent for educating my 7 year old about informed buying decisions. He recently said "I could buy pearls in Fishies, but it would be a waste of money."

Re:It's about time (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508728)

if I had it to design myself, I'd make it so that apps could do in-game purchases that would require a call to the store API. That would pause the game and pop up a purchase area that didn't look like the game, that required their password for access. Then within that area they could buy items. Then leave that area to return to the game. Then require the password next time they wanted to go there.

That would help create a division between the game and the store. Right now with completely in-game purchasing, the kids don't see the purchase as anything other than just another button to click in the game. It needs to have a completely different, consistent look to it, that says "you are not in the game right now, you are in the STORE, spending REAL MONEY".

Another alternate implementation could be to just make such an area to "fund" the game. Then the game devs could implement their own in-game experience store, but that would draw on the funds transferred from the store. That would allow the parents to say "ok Timmy I've put $10 into your Smurfs store, spend it wisely!" That would actually be a good experience for the kids... they need to learn the value of money. It would also relieve the parents of having to mess with the store every time their kid wanted to buy their pet grasshopper a different color of shoes for a quarter etc.

Re:It's about time (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509132)

I'm probably an asshole, but any kids I end up having will be enjoying buying left and right and up and down on their etch-a-sketch, not buying virtual food for their cartoon friends.

some games have fake in game money and there shoul (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509244)

some games have fake in game money and there should be a SYSTEM GUI for buying stuff with REAL money or points that cost real money.

Re:It's about time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508792)

I guess Steve's new motto is "get them addicted early."

Yeah, so then they'll become mouth breathing "GOTTA HAVE NEW SHINY APPLE iTHING ONE RELEASE DAY EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THE PREVIOUS GENERATION UNIT WHICH ISN'T FAR REMOVED FROM NEW SHINY iTHING ONLY BECAUSE GODJOBS SAYS IT IS BETTER!!!!1111!!!"

The sooner he kicks, the better.

Not really a parenting issue... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508542)

I really don't see how this is much of a parenting issue. Many kids have an iPod touch just like they might have a GameBoy or DS. The problem is that in-game purchases are too integrated into the game and it is feasible that a kid playing a game might not fully realize that this is going to be charged real money. Ideally what Apple would do would be when you set up your device in iTunes, you can create a "gift card only" account on it that would only bill gift cards and wouldn't buy something without enough store credit. So kids could still download free apps and spend their gift cards on apps/DLC but without the fear of it charging their parent's credit card.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (4, Informative)

DdJ (10790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508594)

They already have that kind of thing, and even the concept of giving an allowance to a kid's iTunes account.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2105 [apple.com]

The "problem" arises here when the parent hands their own iOS device with their own account to the kid within epsilon of using the account themselves (eg. right after they installed a game). If the kids really had their own iOS devices and iTunes accounts to begin with, the problems aren't the same.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508690)

I really don't see how this is much of a parenting issue.

Maybe it's because I'm older than you, but I was taught rather sternly not to mess with the phone because of the risk of long-distance charges being added. Seems like a better solution than bitching to the phone company about it.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508766)

Except for the fact that it is primarily a technical issue and not a parenting one. Apple's main job should be to deliver the highest quality product possible in order to gain the most profit. Since obviously people are using Apple's product in this way, even if you don't agree with it, Apple should support their customers by adding things to assist them in the way they use their product.

And really, by discouraging kids from playing with technology it breeds them into people who are paranoid about technology. The people who think that every little thing is going to destroy their computer/phone.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508936)

I think that in this case what Apple did was perfectly reasonable. It was simple to implement and it makes it a bit more secure. The underlying issue, though, is that you cannot child-proof the world.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508694)

And this shit is coming from someone who has "taxation is legalized theft, no more, no less" in his sig... what a crock of shit.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (4, Insightful)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508720)

I really don't see how this is much of a parenting issue. ... a kid playing a game might not fully realize that this is going to be charged real money.

Sounds TOTALLY like a parenting issue to me.

See those candies in the store? Not the store's job to tell the kid they need real money to buy them.

If you haven't taught your kids to appreciate real money yet, then they shouldn't be in the position to spend real money without your supervision.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508782)

Unlike with the candy store though, games seem to enjoy having virtual currencies earned by doing random stuff in them. :/ Sounds more like the potential for a kid getting confused between a purchase using the virtual ingame only currency and actual money could be a problem.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508826)

If you haven't taught your kids to appreciate real money yet, then they shouldn't be in the position to spend real money without your supervision.

Which is exactly what this fixes. That kids can't spend real money without your permission. It is a technical issue. Apple has the capability to fix loopholes that allow kids to spend real money without their parents permission and they should fix them.

The problem in this super-connected age is that there are fewer and fewer ways that allow kids to explore 'real' technology without the risk of accidentally purchasing some DLC. Especially when its on a cell phone with an always-on internet connection.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508780)

Ideally what Apple would do would be when you set up your device in iTunes, you can create a "gift card only" account on it that would only bill gift cards and wouldn't buy something without enough store credit. So kids could still download free apps and spend their gift cards on apps/DLC but without the fear of it charging their parent's credit card.

Grats, you've described the exact set up my son has for my old 3G ipod touch (the one with the incredible 45 minute battery life coincidentally right after IOS 4 upgrade). It was pretty trivial to set up.

Disadvantage is when you go to the store and see those giant racks of gift cards, he always wants to buy an itunes gift card. I suppose its healthier that fast food gift cards.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508862)

Hm, well I guess it is possible then, I didn't think it was because the last time I set up an iTunes account, creating one without a credit card required using an expired gift card or something along those lines.

\\

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509214)

Its possible something has changed, I did that about half a year ago.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508800)

The problem is that in-game purchases are too integrated into the game and it is feasible that a kid playing a game might not fully realize that this is going to be charged real money.

Not really, no.

As I recall from the last in-app purchase I made, it's actually a rather jarring break (intentionally so, I believe), and is not nearly as integrated as you claim. You have to go through a few rounds of pop-up notifications, each one saying that you WILL be charged, dictating the amount, and asking whether or not you are certain, not to mention that someone has to enter the password at least that first time (and now, every time). It's pretty far from One-Click type of transactions, and it breaks out of the UI for whatever app you're in, so it should be apparent what is happening.

Unless you're dealing with a pre-literate child, there's no excuse and no room for them to claim ignorance or innocence. This is a parenting issue that Apple is fixing for parents with poorly raised kids.

Re:Not really a parenting issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509270)

Your wrong it is not rather jarring. Once the password is entered it is "remembered" for a period of time.
For example you buy an app for $1.99 and play with it for 10 minutes.
You then go to buy another app worth $3.99.
NO password is needed the second time.

How about dollar-related triggers? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508566)

How about having "dollar" triggers so the timer is ignored if you've spent more than $LIMIT in the last $TIMEPERIOD, with separate triggers for non-kid and kid areas?

That way I'm forced to type in a password if I spend more than my $iBUDGET in a day and kids are forced to come get me if they want to spend more than their $iALLOWANCE in a 7-day period.

Re:How about dollar-related triggers? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508760)

Surely you must be new here. If there were spending limit triggers, then the addicts, er, "customers" might not spend as much! The goal here is to let the kids spend as much as they want, but with more explicit clearance from the parents, as in: "I promise I just want to buy one!" ding. ding ding. dingdingdingdingding. "wow buying 50 was easy!"

Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (5, Informative)

romanval (556418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508580)

This is how you avoid this problem:

Step 1: Get Kid's iPod Touch/iPhone.
Step 2: Setting->General->Restrictions->Enable Restrictions. Remember the passcode.
Step 3: Setting->General->Restrictions->In App Purchases, TURN OFF.
.
That wasn't so hard now was it?

Re:Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508678)

Next thing you'll suggest is that parents take advantage of parental controls on game consols and not buy their kids games rated R if they don't want their kids playing those games. You people and your logic and common sense. Honestly, what has the world come to that solving problems through avaliable means is encouraged... :)

Re:Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508748)

That's like people thinking to not spill hot coffee on themselves..

It's much easier just to sue McDonalds.

Re:Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508840)

That was actually a legitimate lawsuit. The coffee was served at scalding temperatures, and truly was a safety issue.

Re:Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509130)

That was actually a legitimate lawsuit. The coffee was served at scalding temperatures, and truly was a safety issue.

Funny :) They should sue manufacturers of kitchen ovens that makes water boil. Clearly a safety issue. Should automatically stop at 75*C or something.

Re:Before all you ABA haters get in a tissy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508960)

Fuck, dude, I didn't know this. Yes, I have just cut and pasted it into an email. That's pretty damn obscure.

And, by the way, pre-literate kids (toddlers) really like to hit buttons and be like daddy. Not at all hard to believe that it's a bunch of toddlers doing this.

Show of hands... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508620)

...how many people here racked up multiple hundreds of dollars on their parents' credit card, playing premium games on Compuserve and its competitors or dialing long-distance BBS numbers.

Re:Show of hands... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508790)

What's this about credit cards you say sonny? When I was a boy, we had to make do with letters of credit. I remember my papa beat me silly with a leather belt when he found out I took one of his letters down to the toy store and bought erector sets for all of my friends. Of course, that was before the great war you see, and they had to start making the toys out of wood... and... um... oh dear, what was I saying? Oh yeah, get off my lawn!

Re:Show of hands... (1)

dwightk (415372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508890)

I didn't because I knew what money was.

Accountability (2, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508672)

What ever happened to parents holding their children, and themselves for that matter, accountable for their actions. In any child of mine purchased anything online without my permission I would make them work to pay the charges. Maybe it will teach the children the value of money. Maybe it will also teach parents to log out of iTunes before handing the phone over to someone else. In my mind this is no different than logging into one's bank account and the letting a child play on the computer without logging out.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509122)

What ever happened to parents holding their children, and themselves for that matter, accountable for their actions. In any child of mine purchased anything online without my permission I would make them work to pay the charges. Maybe it will teach the children the value of money. Maybe it will also teach parents to log out of iTunes before handing the phone over to someone else. In my mind this is no different than logging into one's bank account and the letting a child play on the computer without logging out.

Still doesn't stop them for the first time - there is no user based access to the iPad so if your kid wants to use it to play a game you have no choice but to 'risk' it - somehow I don't think you are a parent based on your comment. Those apps are bordering on criminal no adult would make the purchases they are aimed at children.

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509252)

So if your 8 year old raked up a bill of $1000 or more, how would you make him work to pay that? Out of curiosity, would you even attempt to contact Apple to see if you could get the money refunded or would that be passing up a valuable opportunity to teach your kid a lesson?

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509272)

The difference is that your bank account page has this nifty "log out button" on EVERY PAGES.

the iTunes log out button is hidden away in the control panel letting you think it auto-log-out right after the purchase.
it does not tell you it STAYS LOGGED IN and people easily assume that you (or the kids) will need the password again for another purchase right away when its not the case for another 15 mins.

Here's an idea... (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508674)

How about Apple offer the OPTION to either have a timed period of no re-authorization, or require it every time? The idea that Apple was just flabbergasted than CHILDRENS games with trivially simply in app purchases were resulting in purchases not authorized by the parents is laughable. Apple knew exactly what was going on, refused to do anything about it until the gravy train intersected the negative publicity tractor trailer, and now is putting in a change that can only be called "plausible deniability". It's not going to change anything because they haven't fixed the issue...they've just done enough so they can claim they did the best they could, but whoopsie we still need to charge your credit card a few hundred bucks.

Re:Here's an idea... (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509324)

...or you could just teach your kids the value of the money they are spending on their phone. If that's too hard you could enable the restrictions *already in place* before you hand the phone over to them. Heaven forbid somebody actually take responsibility for their own devices.

Oh you're right, clearly this is Apple's fault.

Simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508704)

Dont give your kids any apple product.

Problem solved.

Those darn Smurfberries... (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508832)

...will get you every time.

ALL MOMMYS, GET YOUR BUTTS TO.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35508878)

THE MIDDLE EAST, JAPAN, DC, LA, GA, NY, FL ETC.... WE'VE HAD IT. WE'RE DYING HERE

they hesitate to use theatrical terms due to the potential stuff that matters topic of the next story, however they are feeling extremely overextended (even for the advanced lifeforms they are), &/or almost dead. most of us would be a little cranky/colicky in their situation? help's on the way?

this far from original real life ending drama is not available on netflix, cnn etc...

why not voluntarily disarm ourselves & our all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35509058)

that makes perfect sense in every possible way.

Questions and Answers (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508904)

How about an opening screen with multiple choice questions to verify the kid's age? It's, like, totally foolproof!

Who was banned from "Saturday Night Live" because he lost a telephone poll?
a. John Belushi
b. Dan Akroyd
c. Chevy Chase
d. Andy Kaufman

Mork was from the planet
a. Ork.
b. Vulcan.
c. Krypton.
d. Pluto.

A nehru jacket is
a. made from tanned nehru hides.
b. out of date.
c. a Middle Eastern prophylactic.
d. around a car's radiator.

If a physician were stranded on a desert island with Bo Derek, he would probably
a. build a boat.
b. take two aspirins.
c. overcharge her.
d. thank God.

More here [allowe.com] .

Re:Questions and Answers (1)

Mycroft-X (11435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509356)

Wait, Leisure Suit Larry wasn't a quiz game? I can't believe dad lied to me like that.

what happened to good 'ol fashioned punishment? (1, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508934)

If i pulled some shit like this when I was a kid, I'd get my ass beat with the belt.

Next on idiot parent theatre... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508946)

Parents shocked when kids buy in game purchases using the password they leave written on the fridge, parents demand retinal scanner for purchases.

Never (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35508966)

You can never have too many smurfberrys.

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