It’s time to rethink how children’s apps are bought and sold. For less than the cost of a juice box, Yet, for many parents, librarians, and even teachers -- that’s too much money.
APP STORES Especially Google, Apple, and Amazon should increase the transparency whenever “free” is used, to the point of asking publishers to include a paragraph about the direct or indirect motive behind the app. If there’s a publicity agenda, it should be identified; if the app contains branded content, it should be disclosed. App stores should also feature quality paid-apps, and help consumers understand the benefits of taking the “non-free” route.
“Free” apps tend to:
• Waste time and dilute the investment in your hardware.
• Tease children with tempting items that are slightly out of reach.
• Blur the difference between “free” and “paid” content.
• Use up storage space.
• Collect information about your child and your device, by way of hidden data collection tools.
• Are more likely to have a profit, rather than educational motive.
• Associate a child’s feelings of accomplishment with a purchase.
• Are more likely to include ads or sponsored content.
• Expertly apply behavioral psychology to keep engagement levels high.
• They tend to have easier age gates that can increase the risk of an unintended purchase that is non-refundable.