App-happy children cost Apple millions
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement regarding Apple last week that sparked a tech debate about who is responsible for kids’ in-app purchases. Apple accepted responsibility by agreeing to pay $32.5 million to parents whose children made unauthorized in-app splurges.
Looking ahead, the burden of unauthorized in-app purchases is likely to fall on parents, as Apple was also mandated by the FTC to modify its billing practices to ensure consumers are giving informed consent of in-app purchases.
This news, however, does not mean that parents aren’t interested in spending money on apps for their kids. According to a November 2013 survey from PBS KIDS, most parents in the US—68%—already had or intended to purchase apps for their children ages 2 to 10.
Millennial parents were most likely to buy apps for their kids, with 73% of 18-to-34-year-old respondents stating they had or intended to purchase apps for their children. Parents 45 and older were the least likely to buy apps for their kids, with 38% saying they never had and did not plan on it.
When it came to selecting the apps they were going to buy for their children, parents were most swayed by educational content. Nearly eight in 10 of those surveyed by PBS KIDS reported that this was something they considered when selecting an app for their children. The second most important factor was price, but only to 56% of parents.
It is crucial that marketers weigh whether or not they will feature in-app advertisements. Thirty-four percent of parents said they made it a point to keep their children from engaging with ads and selected apps based on whether or not they would display advertisements.
Parents surveyed used a variety of sources to determine which apps to buy for their children, but age recommendations were the most important. Fifty-six percent of respondents looked for apps suitable for their kids’ ages.
Alternatively, 27% of parents did not rely on external sources for app recommendations and allowed their kids to select apps on their own.