Tuesday, February 19, 2013

21st Century Parenting - The iPod

Well, add yet another thing to the list of "situations my parents didn't have to deal with". 

We got Buddy an iPod Touch for Christmas.  Princess has had one for almost a year (she bought it with her own money) and we haven't really had to put many restrictions on hers.  She has a set "bedtime" for it, she can't use it during home school studies, etc.  She has a few games/apps and some music, but she mainly uses it to take pictures and to text her friends. 

Buddy is all about the games.  ALL about the games.  We loaded a few on the iPod when we gave it to him, but he asked last week for a couple more.  I helped him get online with my Apple ID and he purchased one then he downloaded a couple of free ones.  No biggie.  He's been happily playing ever since. 

And he's been listening to some music.  And playing a few more games. 

Then I got the receipts from the iTunes/App Store. 

Seems I forgot to log out.  Buddy's been downloading songs and clicking on game apps for three days.  He honestly thought that 1) he was downloading songs from his other iPod and 2) the games he was clicking on were free.  Luckily he didn't go on a huge shopping spree.  He clicked on a few things and then enjoyed them for a while.  Then went back.  The grand total of all three receipts (shopping sprees) was less than $35, but that would have taken all of his saved allowance and then some.  He looked completely surprised and then horrified when I told him.  But he did not whine or cry.  He first said that he would just delete all of the games, but I told him that it didn't work that way.  Even if he deleted them, we'd still have to pay for them.  So he sucked it up and asked how much.  He took responsibility and was willing to pay. 

I told him that I would contact Apple and let them know what happened.  Since I caught it so early (within three days) and we haven't had an instance like this before, I thought it was worth a shot.  If not, we'd work something out.  After all, I was the one who forgot to log out. 

Let me tell you that Apple has a fantastic customer service department.  My requests were handled quickly and completely.  AND one of the customer service reps went out of her way to outline how to activate more parental controls and warnings on the iPod.  So when I do go in and buy another app or game for him, there will be several warnings that pop up both on the iPod and on my e-mail.  I love it!  (So does Buddy!)

I love that, in this case, Apple has such a personal and flexible policy.  I'm sure they get this kind of stuff all the time.  It's got to be time consuming for them, but it's SO nice as a parent to be able to have this measure of grace as we learn the ins and outs of technology with our kids.  I guess this is the 21st century version of calling an 800 number and signing up for the Columbia House Record Club while your mom was vacuuming down the hall!  (Not that I ever did that.)

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