Who Do You Blame?

It came out this week that Google is facing a class action lawsuit by parents who claim their children were unfairly targeted and tempted to make in-app game purchases.

The one named plaintiff in the suit is Ilana Imber-Gluck, a New York mother, whose 5 year-old kid ran up $68.95 in charges in a game called Marvel Run Jump Smash.

At issue is Google’s current app/in-app password protection.  If you enter your password to buy an app or in-app currency you don’t need to enter it again for 30 minutes.  That is apparently how this kid was able to spend almost $70 in a matter of minutes.

While I agree that Google should update their password policy I think the blame in all of this rests on the shoulders of the mother.

New Google Play Store Password Selections

(UPDATE: Google has recently rolled out an update to the Play Store.  You now have the option to always be prompted to use a password for purchases.)

The game she downloaded for her 5 year-old kid has a content rating of “medium maturity”.  So what does that mean?  According to Google’s Android Developer Support Page these are the qualifications for a “medium maturity” app:

Apps that include references to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

Apps that include gambling themes or simulated gambling.

Apps that include inflammatory content.

Apps that include profanity or crude humor.

Apps that include sexual or suggestive references.

Apps that include mild cartoon or fictional violence.

Apps that include realistic or intense fictional violence.

If an app meets any of these criteria a developer must rate it “medium maturity”.  She downloaded this app for a 5 year-old.  I haven’t played the game in question but I can tell you if either of my daughters asked if they could download the game I would tell them no based on the content rating.

In case you missed it… my kids need to ask for permission before each and every app download.   They don’t know the passwords.  I read the description.  I read the reviews.  I look at how the app is rated.  If it checks out I’ll download it for them.  If it doesn’t, sorry, you’ll have to find another game.

Too often technology is the babysitter and I’m guessing that’s the case here.   I don’t mean to point fingers.  I’ve been guilty of it too but if I were that parent I’d take the $70 hit and have a discussion with my kid.

I also blame the lawyer in this.  There are too many frivolous lawsuits these days and I think this is one of them.

Let this serve as a reminder to parents who let their kids play on their phone or tablet.  Make sure you know the password policy of the app store you use and make sure you’re paying attention to the apps/games your kids are using.

So, who do you blame? The kid, the mom, or the lawyers?

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Week 11 Verses – Hello Spring!

Earlier this week we hit 70 degrees for the first time since October 10, 2013.  That’s 151 days or exactly 5 months!  Far too long!  So, needless to say, I was more than thrilled when I was able to walk out of the office to head home without wearing a coat.

The temperature and sunshine put me in a good mood that was made even better when I found my kids playing in the back yard.  Yep. Everyone is ready for Spring!  I got to thinking, “I wonder what the Bible has to say about Springtime”.  A quick Google search yielded the results for this week’s verses.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (NRSV)

11 for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.

Those two verses accurately described how most of us around here were feeling Monday.

Unfortunately, the days that followed dropped our temperature down again and brought the chance of snow.  That’s alright.  Monday made me see that Spring is coming and after the long Winter we’ve had I think I’ll appreciate it just a little bit more than usual.  Which is cool because Spring is my favorite season… followed closely by Fall, Summer, then Winter.

How would you rank the seasons from your most to least favorite?  

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Tweets From The Pope

Social Media is great for staying in touch with family and friends.  It can also be used to educate and inspire.  Such is the case with Pope Francis and his Twitter account.

When it was first announced that the Pope would be tweeting it got plenty of media attention.  I’m not Catholic but I decided to start following His Holiness to see what all the buzz was about.  I’m glad I did.  He is very good at educating and inspiring in 140 characters or less.

Here are a few examples of some of my favorite recent tweets from Pope Francis:

“The challenge for Christian spouses: remaining together, knowing how to love one another always, and doing so in a way that their love grows.”

“In life we all make many mistakes. Let us learn to recognize our errors and ask forgiveness.”

“How to live a good marriage? United to the Lord, who always renews our love and strengthens it to overcome every difficulty.”

“Let us never lose hope! God loves us always, even with our mistakes and sins.”

“The world makes us look towards ourselves, our possessions, our desires.The Gospel invites us to be open to others, to share with the poor.”

“Sometimes we are saddened by the weight of our sins. May we not be discouraged. Christ has come to lift this burden and give us peace.”

It’s always nice to have something like those pop up in your Twitter feed to balance out some of the negativity.

One interesting note.  I also follow the Dalai Lama on Twitter and I think he and the Pope have the same tweeting schedule.  Their tweets are usually very close to each other in my Twitter feed.

Pope and Dalai Lama Tweets

Here are a few of the other people I follow on Twitter for a little education, inspiration, and even a few laughs: Jon Acuff, Andy Andrews, Adam Weber, Dan Miller, Dave Ramsey, Chris Hogan, Tom Corely, Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Tony Dungy.

Who do you follow on social media that educates and inspires you? Let me know in the comments so I can start following them too!

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