$41.50 in Kindle Superhero Books without Permission???????

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'Unintended' photo (c) 2009, David Goehring - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’m in love with my almost-7-year-old’s brain. Seri­ously. My heart just swells when I think about how intel­li­gent he is. (Please under­stand, I’m not say­ing he’s more intel­li­gent than his brother or his class­mates or any other child; it’s not even so much a mom’s bias at work here as it is amaze­ment at the won­der that is the human brain cre­ated by God.) Yes, I am in love with that mys­te­ri­ous col­lec­tion of gray mat­ter between my lit­tle guy’s ears that makes him capa­ble of doing such things as work­ing his way through a pre­cise series of steps to cre­atively and resource­fully do what he has become fix­ated on doing.

That said, he has — as you might expect of some­one his age — a ways to go in the common-sense depart­ment. In other words, his highly capa­ble brain is some­times too capa­ble for his own good… or for mine.

This dilemma played out in no uncer­tain terms this past Sat­ur­day: As I came down­stairs from my office, he bounded up off the couch where he had been using my Kin­dle (with per­mis­sion, and with his dad nearby, think­ing he was ade­quately super­vis­ing — I would have thought the same) and stat­ing with glee, “Mom! I bought some books on your Kin­dle!” (I should also men­tion that my lit­tle guy is his own worst enemy in that he reports, often with some degree of pride, his own mis­deeds. And yes, he knew at the time that he shouldn’t have done this with­out per­mis­sion; we ascer­tained that in later dis­cus­sion of the matter.)

Kin­dle allows what they call “1-click” pur­chase of books and games, which are then promptly down­loaded to your per­sonal device. No pass­word required — which is a beef I have with Ama­zon.

What I want to report here, how­ever, is that when I imme­di­ately called Ama­zon
Cus­tomer Ser­vice to report that my 6-year-old had down­loaded $41.50 worth of titles with­out my per­mis­sion, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive was excel­lent in her response. She did not ques­tion my sin­cer­ity; she looked at the elec­tronic record and could see that, indeed, six items had been pur­chased in very short order within only the past hour or so, and she was very under­stand­ing and even apolo­getic. She offered imme­di­ately to remove the items and refund my credit card, and I sat with the phone in one hand and my Kin­dle in the other, watch­ing as the books dis­ap­peared from my main menu, one by one. What a relief!

What made my heart swell — not right away, mind you, but a few hours later and, to be sure, after the money had been refunded — was the thought of what brain­power it actu­ally took for him to be able to accom­plish what he did. Though the actual pur­chas­ing is a mat­ter of just one click — one push of a but­ton — before get­ting to that point, he had to know how to (1) switch the Kindle’s wire­less con­nec­tion on, (2) nav­i­gate to “Shop in Kin­dle Store,” and (3) search for items, which requires typ­ing in at least a key­word or par­tial title. His search terms of choice, appar­ently, based on the resul­tant titles: Hulk, Bat­man, Baku­gan, Super­hero, Star Wars, and Cat in the Hat. If you know my kiddo, there’s no big sur­prise here! (The actual books weren’t as keenly cho­sen; the “Super­heroes” one was some­thing to do with The Phi­los­o­phy of… — clearly an adult read.)

Well, he’s grounded from the Kin­dle until Christ­mas, and he fully under­stands why. But, though I do still believe there should be a way to password-protect the “1-click” fea­ture on Kin­dle, Ama­zon has my heart­felt sup­port — more than ever before — for how pro­fes­sion­ally and sat­is­fac­to­rily their Cus­tomer Ser­vice rep han­dled my prob­lem. Thanks, Ama­zon!

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