In January 2014, Apple reconciled with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), willing to pay $ 32.5 million. At the root of the problem, many children, through the in-app purchases feature, buy various digital products at various Apple services, especially the App Store, without parents’ knowledge. As a result, parents are shocked by bills from Apple that they don’t know about.
Peace with the FTC, Apple said, as reported by the BBC, is better done than “doing a tiring fight on the court table”. Meanwhile, Edith Ramirez, Chair of the FTC, called Apple’s submission as “a consumer victory over Apple’s unpleasant billing behavior”.
The settlement between Apple and the FTC is very important considering that currently 56 percent of the world’s population is also a virtual population. Children are part of it. In “What Makes Young Children Active Game Players: Ethnographic Case Study”, Youn Jung Huh mentioned that 83 percent of children aged six months to six years use digital devices as part of their daily lives. According to estimates, the age of three years is the “mature age” for humans to start introducing technology. This happens because human hands have been able to recognize various interaction devices with computers, such as a mouse.
Then, in “Determining the Effects of Technology on Children” Kristina E. Hatch stated that many laptops have been designed for use by children as young as six years old and smart phones for 10 years. Then, Hatch, who mentioned a survey by The Kaiser Family Foundation, emphasized that children ages 8 to 18 consume at least 10 hours and 45 minutes of cyberspace on average every day.
Children are children. Sometimes, they do not understand what is done in cyberspace, directly correlated with the real world. Such as clicking “buy” in an application or game that ultimately makes parents get bills from Apple, Google, or other companies. Sadly, as reported by Market Watch, internet companies are even illegally targeting children for their business interests.
Research conducted by Jenny Radesky, a professor at the University of Michigan, on 135 children’s-themed applications found that all contained advertising schemes in them. Unfortunately, the type of advertisement introduced is the “camouflage” type, which looks like a game or fun game for children, but it is a trap.
“This application periodically attracts children to make purchases and watch advertisements, even though these applications are marketed to parents as applications that are suitable for children,” Radesky explained.
To protect children, from the pitfalls of internet companies and various virtual crimes, such as harassment, parental control applications are born.
Parental control is a feature embedded in digital TV services, video games, computer applications, and mobile devices that allow parents to limit or close access to their children. In “Parental Control and Children’s Internet Safety: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, Emmanouil Magkos said that this feature, in the digital sphere, is installed on the internet client, which is an integrated part of the operating system. Parental control can also be installed on an internet proxy, tasked with stemming inappropriate content for children.
Parental control, Magnos continued, “allows for the control, filtering, monitoring of information, such as irresponsible content contained in applications, the web, the microphone, to the camera.”
Parental control is not new. In November 2017, Verizon was the first to bring parental control features to the world of technology, limiting access to content according to age category. In June 2009, through iOS 3.0, Apple introduced the parental control feature. And through the patent “US7302272B2” Google introduced “Cell Phone Parental Control.”
Google’s parental control, created by combining GPS technology and universal remote locator to protect mobile phones from virtual hazards.
In the application store, there are quite a lot of parental control options, such as ESET Parental Control, Kid Place, Norton Family, to Kid Zone. Some features contained in the parental control application such as instant lock, which allows parents to force their child’s device locked. There are also parent alerts, features that work to tell parents that their child is trying to trick parental control.
But, do parental control applications function properly?
Magkos, still in his paper, said that sometimes the parental control application does underblocking and overblocking protection.
Underblocking is a situation where an application does not do or do it with a minimum blocking or limitation of content that does contain negative material for children. Overblocking vice versa.
Some applications studied by Magkos such as Norton Family. In this application, Norton does 23 percent overblocking virtual content, and 43 percent underblocking.
Protecting children from virtual dangers is actually not fixed on the parental control application. Kristina E. Hatch, in “Determining the Effects of Technology on Children” said that now “humans live in a place where everyone is connected, all the time. This place is a new place, which was created by technological developments. ”Humans, in this new place, must be willing to rearrange the norms that are duly implemented.