Your children love to play apps. But what if they accidentally click on these in-app purchases that these apps offer? Yes, as a parent you could actually end up spending hundreds of dollars without realizing. In-app purchase made by children has led many parents to lose some good amount of money from their bank accounts. Ilana Imber-Gluck is one such lady who has filed petition against Google Play Store after her son spent some $65.95 on Marvel Run Jump Splash.
Targeting In-App Purchases in a Children’s App Is Morally Wrong
As developers, it is important to be morally responsible. It doesn’t really make sense to have in-app purchases for a child app. The child doesn’t decide normally that they need in-app purchases and seldom will any parent give them the power to make in-app purchases. For children apps, it’s better to make them free, offer a trial version or ask for the full payment beforehand.
The projected growth of over $50 million of the gaming app market only suggests how much this genre will grow. Statistically, only 1.5% users actually make an in-app purchase. In fact, statistics suggest that more than half of the in-app purchases come from around 0.15% people of these 1.5% users. So you can know how little we are talking about here.
IAPs Require Greater Transparency
The recent lowering of prices of the apps is the result of the unwillingness to pay for high priced apps by users. Since the purchase is deducted credit cards of an adult, the card owner’s consent is pretty vital before the final purchase is made. The growing lawsuits against these companies have made them be more cautious to stop such IAPs. Google as well as Apple, is trying to update their policies related to IAPs. One example of it is the update in the iOS 7.1 after any purchase is done by the App store. The caution of password free app purchase within the next 15 minutes makes the users alert. In fact, you can disable in app purchasing from your iOS device itself.
What Needs To Be Done By The App Makers?
App developers need to understand that parents need to have the final say for downloads for a children’s app. A good step to check unwanted purchases would be to introduce a parental gate during any app purchase. This gate would require the child to pass through a simple test. It can either be a math problem or some sequence of digits that any child who cannot read would not be able to enter. As a developer IAPs must be removed entirely or at least those IAPs that require real money purchases must be prohibited.
Parents need to exercise caution as well. They must play the game once before exposing them to the children so that if there are any such IAPs then they can avoid their reach to their young ones.
Blind selling or making just individual profit is what needs to be prohibited by the makers since consumer satisfaction is the main goal. While the app markets hold lot of promises, app makers shouldn’t forget that they need to be morally responsible as well.