With over 65 million downloads, Talking Angela is certainly a success, despite a persistent hoax circulating on Facebook and other social media. The hoax claims, among other things, that Talking Angela is a kind of front for pedophilia, which is completely untrue.
There are always concerns about apps popular with children, so our Italian editor Laura Ceridono spoke to Outfit7 COO Alessandro Traverso and Senior Brand Director Randeep Sidhu about the hoax, and what they are doing to reassure worried parents.
Popularity and excellent artificial intelligence made the hoax more successful
Outfit7 says while they are not sure of the origin of the hoax, it was ‘probably Scotland’, and it spread from there. The app’s popularity ensured the success of the hoax, as people will talk more about an app they use. Traverso and Sidhu also believe that the excellent artificial intelligence in Talking Angela made it easier for some people to believe there could be a real person answering their questions, instead of a piece of software. It’s sadly ironic that a good piece of programming resulted in accusations of pedophilia.
Child mode will be improved
Many people criticize the current ‘Child Mode’, as while it makes the app more suitable for children, it’s extremely easy to turn off. Traverso and Sidhu accept this, and told us a parental gate will be added by Easter 2014 to Talking Angela and all other Outfit7 apps later. The new Child Mode will require a password, which should stop kids being able to turn it off.
In-app purchases: a parental responsibility
In-app purchases are controversial in games and apps that kids use. There have been cases where perhaps poorly informed parents have accidentally allowed their children to spend lots of money on in-app purchases.
For Output7, in-app purchases are like the baseball trading cards of today: parents gave their children pocket money to buy stickers and cards in the past, today’s parents have to learn to use today’s technology for their children. Traverso and Sidhu say they also found that using gold in games helps children understand the value of patience and waiting!
[Source: Softonic Italia]