By Anne Collier
Interesting: On the one hand, I hear a Nickelodeon executive saying kids are hard-pressed to spend $10 in the Apple App Store, and on the other I read that Apple reached a settlement with an untold number of “parents who sued the company for making it too easy for kids to rack up charges by buying add-ons to games and other apps.” That’s according to the Washington Post. Parents won’t be able to retire on the funds they’re awarded: Each family that can prove it was “charged for in-app purchases made by a minor, had not given [an] account password to the child and [has] not already received a refund for charges will receive a $5 iTunes card,” the Post reports, and a notice will go out to some 23 million families. But maybe Apple will now think even more about the family-dynamics implications of its product features. Meanwhile, however, the children on a panel at the recent Digital Kids conference said they found in-app purchases extremely annoying, and Nickelodeon’s Jane Gould said that, in her research, kids had a hard time figuring out how to use up their $10 iTunes cards and were in a panic to complete their assignment before time was up. The lawsuit referred to a 15-min. window in which Apple users could make purchases before having to reenter a password. It was that 15-min. period in which kids reportedly “spent between $99 and $300 on in-app purchases — charges that were then passed on to the credit card bills of their unsuspecting parents.” Apparently Apple has since closed that window, but parents need to know that they can put downloads and purchases behind a password on their kids’ phones and iPod Touches. Here’s a great post by CoolMomTech.com explaining how.