There is a lot I love about Britain – the booze, the countryside and the love of finely tailored tweed (maybe that’s just where I live) but conversely, there are things here that give me the irrits. British people love to blame everything and everyone but themselves. The weather takes most of the flak. (Oh, we can’t exercise because it’s too cold, can’t get to work because our trains can’t get through the wrong type of snow, can’t manage the enormous rainfall we receive because it falls in the wrong places and other such bullshit). But a favourite example lately popped into my news feed recently. Parents who refuse to take responsibility. Few things get me annoyed more than parents who expect schools to take sole ownership for rearing their child. This one however is even better than that because it mixes in technology. And I love technology.
So what happened, for those without time to read the article?
Picture this: mum and dad have some friends over and little Danny just won’t stop nagging about an app he wants to play on the iPad. He’s told no. Little Danny annoys the living shit out of his parents, begging for the app because it’s free. To shut the kid up, Dad enters his password into iTunes to download the app, just to get some freaking peace and quiet. Dad returns to sit around the IKEA table drinking £6.99 wine from Tescos, discussing house prices in Somerset and where Steve got that sweater (Fat Face or Next, probably). Meanwhile, Danny is happily amusing himself on the iPad.
Next day, Mum gets a slew of emails (19 of them) from iTunes confirming a bunch of £69.99 in-app purchases (IAPs). She dismisses them because she “thought it must be a mistake” so she “just forgot about it”. It wasn’t until she got a call from the bank alerting her to the activity that she took it seriously (technology by the way that yours truly once helped put in, you’re welcome).
“When I realised I called my husband and asked him to sort this out. As of yet we are still waiting for iTunes to recognise that this was a big mistake.”
Firstly, I’m loving the hand-off to the husband. (Oh dear! I couldn’t possibly sort something out myself, particularly as it isn’t my fault). Secondly, I’m sure iTunes would acknowledge it is a mistake. Absolutely. Just not theirs. Even a chimp in overalls knows how to set up parental controls on an iPad these days, and if you don’t, then how about not handing over your password on a device with a purchasing system that you have associated a credit card with?
Possibly the most amusing part of this story is not the ginormous credit card bill (over £1700), but the fact that the parents in this story (and I shit you not about this) are professional childminders. Yup.
And how did they discipline the child after they learned what he did?
“I told Danny he’d better get ready for bed and run and hide before daddy gets home.” Oh dear. Probably not what you want to be quoted as saying as a childminder.
Of course, when the parents told their responsibility-shirking mates they sympathised and said that “our situation had to be some sort of record, so I should let the papers know to warn other parents.” Of course they fucking did, because it’s not your fault that you willingly bought an overpriced device to avoid interacting with your children then gave them full access to your credit card just so you can get a bit more ‘me time’ with your lower middle class friends. And what has the kid learned? Other than he should definitely run and hide when he does something wrong? He can make it all better by posing for some daft pictures in the media (see here and here) and blame someone else. Of course he’s not the first. For added amusement, here’s a little video of the
mono-syllabic zombie darling being interviewed.
I think there’s something in that for all of us. (In my head I can hear Whitney singing I believe the children are our future…)