FTC unhappy with some iPhone Games for surpassing parental control

Is surpassing parents to encourage kids demand or buy a product, an offense?

Many parents who accede to their kids’ frequent demand to buy them a McDonald meal, as they contain tiny toys, will not see this as an offense on the part of the fast food chain; OR may be they have not given a thought to this aspect of sales “where parental control is cleverly surpassed”. But in many countries parents find such a “lure kids and sell” strategy offensive.

Recently a US woman, took McDonald to the court, for luring her kids with toys, an action, which makes it difficult for her and her husband to exercise effective parental control.
The case is under hearing.

Another form of sales strategy adopted or intentionality overlooked by companies, providing online services like Games, apps etc, is -- not having enough security to prevent children from inadvertently spending hundreds of dollars of their parent’s money.

Now, unlike the McDonald’s context, this, which obviously is a more direct breach of parental control; is under FTC or Federal Trades Commission US as well. Rumors are that Apple was unhappy with Capcom over the way in-app purchases could be made in Smurf’s Village. And the reason for this is, The Federal Trade Commission announcement that it will be investigating the way in which “in-app purchases” can be made via Apple’s handheld devices.

It seems FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz is concerned that there is not enough security preventing children from inadvertently spending hundreds of dollars of their parent’s money, and will also be looking at the way apps like Smurf’s Village appear to be “free” and then aggressively market these in-app purchases.


Exercising effective parental control on kids is a difficult task; when one considers the lures market lines up on a every day basis. But studies have shown that, talking with kids, and explaining them the logic behind any conflicting issue, is a good method to apply effective parental control. If talked to from an early age, kids, instinctively start taking good decisions by weighing all available alternatives.

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