I love cats, I really do.
Some years ago I stumbled upon an urban legend, a story about a woman who had her cat dry in a microwave and then sued the manufacturer because the cat.. well, did not take it too well.
Manufacturer found guilty: the instruction manual never said anything about using the microwave on living beings.
Yesterday, news all over the world reported that Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission to pay at least $19M to eligible parents as a form of compensation for the in-app purchases made from their children on mobile devices. If you are not familiar with them, in-app purchases are “magic gems”, “gold coins” and other virtual goods that you can buy inside of digital games by using real money.
I honestly think that those parents have a lot in common with the lady that put the cat in the microwave and then sued the manufacturer.
To better understand why, imagine a daddy with one of the best phones humanity ever built: the Nokia 3310.
Imagine this man, giving the phone to her little, lovely daughter, so she can play Snake. A couple of hours later, he finds out that his baby girl just drained the credit on the SIM card because she pushed some buttons and called a guy in Antarctica.
What would the father do?
I like to think that the people who will vote on this survey, will go for the third option. Not even Homer Simpson, in the famous episode “Bart VS Australia”, remotely thought of suing the phone company after Bart did 900 USD of international calls. If something like that does not cross even Homer Simpson’s mind, maybe it should ring a bell or two.
People tend to see technology as a scapegoat for their own laziness.
The fact that phones are “smart” does not mean that they turn Flash Thompson in Nikola Tesla, but this is what people seem to expect from a smartphone. “If it is so smart, why did it do something that stupid? A person would never want that!”
Well, guess what, dear reader.. If you give your son some money while you are in a candy store, he will buy candies. And no, suing the owner of the store will not make up for your own short-sightedness.
If you leave a toddler in a room full of knives, chances are he’s gonna get cut. Badly.
That is why, dear readers and parents out there, please remember about Spider-man when you buy something powerful as a modern electronic device can be: with great power, comes great responsibility, and there is no smartphone in the world that can save you from that.