It's been revealed today that The Office of Fair Trading (an independent UK body that does what it says on the tin) will be investigating whether marketing pressurises kids into purchasing In App Purchases (IAPs). This comes after one child racked up a £1700 bill. This has been an issue that has been around for a few years but it is of particular interest today as BBC news had IGN's Keza MacDonald on to talk about the issue.
For anyone who doesn't know (this issue highlights that there are many who don't), a game can be free to play but features things that you buy in game using real life money. These are things such as gold or health which make the game easier to beat. There are rare cases of things needing to bought for the game to be beaten but this is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence. There are also rare cases of games being stealthy with their purchases but again this is dying out.
Now onto the issue at hand. This is a simple issue and one that does not really warrant such hype because the answer is so simple. This means that this particular little rant of mine may be quite short. Or maybe not.
Parents are angry and feel as though they have been conned out of money and that their children were pressurised. They have a lot of different excuses. The thing I've started to notice about these parents who let their kids play games is that they are all too happy to chuck a game in the general direction of their kids to shut them up for a bit but when something like this happens it could not possibly be their fault.
That would be LUDICROUS!
Now, parents, listen closely. There's a new concept that is currently quite popular amongst intelligent, responsible and just generally decent parents that is called supervision. Supervision, in a nutshell, means that when your child is doing something you make sure that they aren't doing anything that could have negative consequences for them, you or others. For example, in the age old games lead to murderous children argument, make sure you don't let your four year old play Grand Theft Auto. And, with this issue, make sure you don't hand your children a device that lets them spend your money.
"Oh but we didn't know! "
If you own a smartphone or a tablet then you will have set it up and hooked your bank account details into it, it's one of the very first steps of setting up such a device. This means you have at least a basic knowledge of how to use the thing. Why not use this basic skill set, and some common sense, and see if you can disable your child's ability to spend your money. Surely a person of even modest intelligence would have thought of at least attempting to see if this was possible!?
For those of you who don't possess this level of intelligence and simply want to unfairly cause a controversy for an industry to deal with here is how, on an iPhone or iPad (the most common of these devices) to turn off In App Purchases. Go into settings, then go into general, then go into restrictions, then see In App Purchases and turn them off. Was that so hard? No? Of course it wasn't you moronic fool.
For those of you own different devices why not use these devices to Google it?!
This whole investigation is a waste of time and money. Parents need to take responsibility. The tools for them to stop this are there so just use them. When it comes to gaming parents generally never seem willing to grow a pair and take responsibility. Gun crime, and violence in general, it's not because of bad parenting and the failings of society it's because of video games. The reason you lost £2000 isn't because you are an idiot who handed your child a device linked to your money it's because of the games industry. This is utter bullshit and it never fails to astound me that parents can be so spineless, so ignorant and so ready to blame others for their own failings.
Just raise your child properly!
If I have offended anyone with this rant I apologise.