Seem to prey on the children, who can rack up the costs
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/25/2013 -- Parents are currently being urged by authorities to be vigilant with their iPhones and iPads following warnings by parenting groups that “immoral” in-app advertisements could be seen by children and interacted with, unwittingly costing parents hundreds of pounds in fees.
The advertisements are another controversy for developers, who have previously been called out for their inclusion of expensive in-app purchases that hide inside children's apps.
The latest controversial situation arose with the latest warning, which followed the launch of an iPhone application that could have resulted in children unwittingly signing up for a subscription service that costs £208 per year.
The Talking Friends Cartoons application, which is available on major devices, is from the Outfit7 developer, and include characters such as Talking Tom Cat and Talking Lila the Fairy. The application allows users to learn more about the characters, download wallpaper, and even watch short cartoons that are produced in part by Disney.
The application itself is free, but there are banners included that carry advertisements directing users to a quiz, promoted by the Yamoja company. Users must sign up for a £4-per-week subscription, which gives them weekly texts.
Stuart Dredge, an application commentator who writes about adverts on his Appls Playground blog, noted: "What an advert that tries to sign you up to a £4-a-week mobile content subscription was doing inside this app is genuinely beyond me."
This latest advertisement has been pulled from the application, but another new launch from National Geographic also holds a costly in-app extra.
Dinoland app, attracted some controversy for letting users buy virtual “bones” in amounts that reached over £70. The games were simply part of a game. Children who are particularly impatient and excitable about winning such a game are more apt to accept charges for such a seemingly pointless application addition.
Speaking on these in-game adverts and additions, Justine Roberts of Mumsnet, stated "App-developers need to build in greater controls from the start – it's shocking that a few click-throughs from an advert can lead to a £200 cost for unknowing parents, and it shows just how important it is to keep an eye on your child's device settings."
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