Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Parental Gating

As promised, I'm introducing a couple of new features for A Matter of App: "Trend Alert" and "The Survey Spot." They're pretty self explanatory, so I'll jump right in.

Trend Alert: Parental gating is popping up in more and more apps. This is when features that are really meant for parents rather than the kids who are playing the app are "locked." The features behind the gate can be in-app purchases, links to buy other apps (cross promotions), links to social media, email, sharing, etc. The parental gate, which varies in how its implemented, stops kids from easily accessing this information, which if accessed, may lead to unapproved purchases, release of private information, etc. Here's an example:
There are other examples where you have to hold for a few seconds, do a math problem, or enter a passcode, but the purpose is the same.

Given the recent FTC children's online privacy update, parental gating seems like it's a step in the right direction. It certainly does not address all the privacy issues, but can help alleviate some of the concern.

But where do we draw the line? What exactly should be gated? Who should be enforcing the gating (parents? developers?) And for what age? A 10-year-old can do math problems and read the gating directions, so is there another form of gating that's more effective? Or maybe parents trust their 10-year-old to be responsible enough to not buy something without permission?

This brings me to "The Survey Spot." This new feature is just a quick and dirty survey to try to get some answers and for you to voice your opinion. I'm going to try to limit them to just one question (ok, one main question - and I may cheat and make it one long question ;)  and a couple of demographic questions). Should take no more than a few minutes.

So for the inaugural "The Survey Spot" - tell me what you think about parental gating:

Click here to take the survey!!

The survey's for parents, teachers, developers, and whoever else. The more responses, the better the results - Help spread the word!

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