Apple Debuts New Page to Help Parents With Screen-Time Concerns

From the CNN piece:

The new “Families” page — located at apple.com/families — is an attempt to help parents understand and use all the features that are already floating around on Apple devices. Many parents may not know that they have the power to track their children’s location, monitor and limit their purchases, and filter what content they can see on their devices.

It also covers privacy, health related settings like sleep mode, sharing between family members, and the use of Apple devices in education.

apple families page

The company also updated its support page for parental controls.

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Apple to Refund App Store Purchases Made Without Parental Consent

From the NY Times:

An agreement between federal regulators and Apple may make parents wince a little less at the sight of their children staring at an iPhone.

The Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday that Apple had agreed to better ensure parental approval of purchases from the company’s App Store. In addition, Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to customers whose children made purchases without adequate parental consent.

LA Schools to Get iPads for All Students

Los Angeles’ school system, the second largest in the United States, has ordered iPads for all its students, handing Apple a major success in its quest to make the tablet a replacement for textbooks. The city’s education board approved the purchase of $30 million worth of iPads.

The initial order is for more than 31,000 iPads, Apple said. The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Apple said 10 million iPads are in use in schools today. The company said that when the rollout is completed, Los Angeles will be the largest school district in the nation to provide each student with an iPad.

Even though Tablettoddlers is based in Boston, we certainly do love LA

Apple to Pay Back Parents

Apple has agreed to give more than $100 million in iTunes store credits to settle a lawsuit alleging that it improperly charged kids for playing games on their mobile devices. The 2-year-old case centers on allegations that Apple didn’t create adequate parental controls.

The 2-year-old case centers on allegations that Apple didn’t create adequate parental controls to prevent children from buying extra features while playing free games on iPhones and iPads in 2010 and 2011. Parents who filed the lawsuit in 2011 said they didn’t realize their children were racking up the charges until they received bills or other notifications after the purchases were made. The games that had been downloaded were designed for kids as young as 4 years old, according to the lawsuit.

Silicon Valley Pushing Back on Children’s Online Privacy

According to this NY Times article, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have all objected to portions of a federal effort to strengthen online privacy protections for children.

In addition, media giants like Viacom, Disney, cable operators, marketing associations, technology groups and a trade group representing toy makers are arguing that the FTC’s proposed rule changes seem so onerous that, rather than enhance online protections for children, they threaten to deter companies from offering children’s Web sites and services altogether.

But the underlying concern, for both the industry and regulators, is not so much about online products for children themselves.  It is about the data collection and data mining mechanisms that facilitate digital marketing on apps and Web sites for children — and a debate over whether these practices could put children at greater risk.

Spelunking at Fisher-Price

Interesting article from the NY Times on the Fisher-Price PlayLab, which has morphed into a high-tech toy heaven for infants and toddlers.  From the piece:

“Today, the lab, located at the Fisher-Price headquarters in East Aurora, N.Y., looks more like an Apple store.  But instead of adults and teenagers, there are infants staring into computer screens, and parents and toddlers are passing iPads back and forth.”

Good for Fisher-Price in adapting to a generation of newborns who are going to be weaned on touch devices.