Who Knows What the Kids Are Buying with Your Phone in the Back Seat?

backseat phone

It’s sure as hell happened to me–and if you’ve got a smartphone or tablet, there’s a pretty good chance that your darling, more-tech-savvy-than-you child has bought a few things and charged it to your phone bill. Stay tuned–there may be some good news on the horizon.

Under increasing pressure from parents, Apple is the first company to admit that they may have been a little lax on parental controls–and they’ve agreed to pay $100 million to settle claims.  Apparently, upwards of 20 million households are affected. If your child only bought a few small things, the $5 iTunes gift card they’ll be offering will make you happy. But if you’re one of the unfortunate parents whose kids racked up hundreds of dollars worth of apps, movies, tv shows, and more, you’re not going get much compensation. Plus, you won’t get anything at all unless you can prove that your child bought something without having to enter a password.

 

 

The ONLY Pregnancy App for Dads–”Mr. Dad on Pregnancy”

mrdad on pregnancy -- the ONLY app for expectant fathers

mrdad on pregnancy -- the ONLY app for expectant fathersWell, after a few delays and tech hiccups, my new app, “Mr. Dad on Pregnancy” (based on my bestselling book, The Expectant Father), is out. It’s engaging, informative, and a lot of fun. Plus, it’s the only app out there specifically aimed at dads (and those who love them).

I’d love to get feedback from all you dads and moms. Your reviews and recommendations would mean a lot too.

You can download Mr. Dad on Pregnancy here. goo.gl/bBR6v   If you’re interested in reviewing the advanced versions, I’ll be delighted to reimburse the full purchase price.

Finally, we’d like to do a Spanish language version of the app. If you know of a good translator, please let me know.

Privacy on Line? Good Luck Finding an App for That

Dear Mr. Dad: Like a lot of people, I sometimes let my 8-year old play with my smart phone while I’m driving. I’ve got things set up so he can’t download any apps by himself, but he’s talked me into a getting a bunch for him. It just hit me the other day that I don’t think I’ve ever seen any privacy policy notices with the apps. How do I know they aren’t spying on us?
A: Unfortunately, you don’t.  And given that 85% of Americans have a cell phone, (45% have smartphones) and 25% have tablets, your question is an excellent one. The good news is that we tend to take our privacy pretty seriously. A September, 2012 Pew report found that than half of app users “decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it,” And 30% of app users have “uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share.”

Looking for On-line Privacy? Unfortunately, There’s No App for That

Nearly a year ago (February, 2012), staff at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report called Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing in which they found that little or no information on privacy practices or interactive features of mobile apps was made available to parents before those apps were downloaded from either the Apple or Android app stores. The results, as the title of the report indicate, were disappointing.

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Privacy? Sorry, there’s no app for that

Think about all the apps you have on your phone, iPad, and anything else. And have you ever looked at—I mean really looked at—the privacy policy for those apps? Well, if you did, you’re certainly in the minority. I don’t think I’ve ever read the fine print (or any of the print at all) on most privacy policies. I just check the box and move on. After all, what harm could come of it?  [Read more...]