I just read this blog post from over on ZDNet: It's time for iTunes and Xbox Live to put spending limits in place. Mr. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes that:
There’s a fine line between something being lucrative, and starting to feel scammy. Apple is certainly sailing close to the wind with some of the in-app purchases it is allowing, and Microsoft could certainly do more to prevent this kind of bad publicity. [...] And it’s clear that the current mechanism of relying on parental controls isn’t enough. Both companies need to get their act together.
I would agree that parental controls are failing – couldn’t that be said about a lot of things? – but we would stop short of flogging a parent who pulled off the same stunt at Wal-Mart and then tried to blame the store management.
Could you imagine walking your child into the store, giving them a shopping cart and meeting them at the checkout – at which point you blindfold yourself and let the check-out clerk scan all items…and then your credit card? And you don’t even check?
Look, I’m no fan of Apple, but I don’t think they (or Microsoft) are in the wrong here. My wife has disabled in-app purchases and we don’t share our password for the iPod Touch or the Windows Phone 7 devices we own. Not going to happen.
Our kids just don’t get unchecked access to our credit cards. Period.
While Mr. Kingsley-Hughes refers to it as ‘insanity’ and points blame to the companies in question, I refuse to be an enabler for parents who want to make stupid, unconditionally blameless children.