Parents sue Apple for in-app purchases, bad parenting

Posted on Monday, April 18th 2011 at 2:25 p.m.

Ars Technica reports on a class-action lawsuit announced in California stating that Apple induced children to spend their parents’ money on in-app purchases.

The main cause of such spending was “freemium” games, such as Smurf’s Village or Tap Fish , which are free to play but which almost require in-app purchases to get anywhere.

Older iOS versions cached iTunes passwords for 15 minutes, so parents were entering their passwords to allow kids to download an app and kids then went on to purchase in-game items.  Other parents went as far to provide their iTunes passwords directly to kids.  iOS 4.3 now requires a separate password entry for in-app purchases and has parental controls to prevent the ability to make those purchases.

Although the applications are developed by third parties, the lawsuit names Apple because Apple distrubtes the applications and runs the payment system that allows the purchases.

Absent from the lawsuit is any culpability on the part of parents for handing a device that allows purchases to children and not supervising their activity.  As much as some of us here like to pick on Apple, this lawsuit is completely without merit and we hope that the class action suit is dismissed.  Apple is not responsible for poor parenting.

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