Kids running up digital purchase bills

InAppPurchases

As technology gets more and more impressive, so too does the ability of our kids to master it earlier. My 7-year old certainly knows how to use one, and these days it’s common to see small children swiping and poking at tablets with a confidence that’s enviable to anyone has had to adapt to using one since they hit shelves.

It seems that some children though are so good at using iPads and tablets that it’s costing their parents money, and thanks to easy app purchasing and in-app purchases kids are running up bills on their parents’ cards with ease.

This is where it’s necessary to go into statistics I’m afraid, but if you’ve also got little ones they’re worth taking in. A new study has shown that 84% of children purchase digital downloads with their pocket money whilst 32% of parents tried to steer their children clear of downloads in case it left them vulnerable to inappropriate material.

Everyone is always going to parent differently but if you haven’t already now might be a good time to evaluate just how your little ones use the family tablet.

Time to Say: “Enough is Enough”?

I have always been an avid promoter of adapting and incorporating technology into our everyday lives to simplify tasks and manage time effectively, but every now and again the time comes when I simply think: “enough is enough!”

One of the worlds most iconic and popular fast food companies is making headway on developing a new app which could fuel further misfortune for the waistlines of Britons.

McDonalds Drive Thru

Smartphones can not only be used to find your nearest McDonalds restaurant, discover opening times and guide you to it using intelligent mapping software, but now the global giant are testing a pre-order/ mobile payment application.

As if receiving a double cheeseburger and fries in less than 3 minutes wasn’t enough, the titanic corporation are experimenting with ways to avoid the queue altogether. Utah and Texas are the two nominated US states to test-drive the scheme that, if successful, could be rolled out across the billion-dollar franchise over the next few years.

The majority of McDonald’s 33,000+ restaurants already provide free Wi-Fi for customers, as well as interactive “Happy Tables” at some locations too; the company are certainly no stranger to embracing technology.

Research suggests that Texas and Utah are among some of the fattest states in the US, so it’ll be no surprise if the McDonalds test-drive is a roaring success.

Overweight Mother and Daughter

On the other hand, McDonalds has a track record for providing some sensible digital offerings too:

In the UK, the McDonald’s app currently features a restaurant locater, as well as a full menu with nutritional information. McDonalds in Australia took this one step further earlier this year and introduced a “Track My Macca’s” app.

By scanning a QR code and using GPS technology, customers were able to discover the source of their meal and where the meat was processed before being cooked onsite.

Using state of the art augmented reality, the app also gave customers the opportunity to hear from the farmers and bakers who supply to McDonalds, enforcing the brands ethos of fair-trade and sourcing responsibly.

Available from January until the end of June 2013, the app was hoped to help dispel concern over the health risks associated with McDonalds, caused by an outcry from vegetarian groups and the 2004 documentary ‘Supersize Me’.

A spokeswoman is quoted as saying: “Track my Macca’s is purely an Australian thing. We have our own McDonald’s app in Britain”.

McDonalds App

Technology enthusiasts TechHive reached out to the company for specifics on when the pre-order system will be available and for what devices. A McDonald’s rep responded via email: “We’re always looking at new technologies to make the McDonald’s experience better for our customers. We are testing some of these technologies in a few markets, so it’s premature to speculate on the decisions we may make after the tests, but we’re excited to bring a cutting-edge experience in the future to our customers.”

Whilst I am fascinated with the Australian app (and kind of wish I could try it myself), what concerns me most is how this technology will be translated to the UK market. Is it not bad enough that we don’t even have to leave our cars to indulge on fast food?

Do you welcome the news that one day (soon) you’ll be able to enjoy your BigMac in record time? Please share your comments below.