So when I bought some stuff from a maternity store they signed me up for a free trial subscription to Parenting Magazine. The August issue just arrived, and one of the cover stories is 6 Ways To Be A Great Parent. The #1 recommendation is to play video games.
I figured that with our heavy population of parents, and our hand-wringers who can’t wait for the day that more people play games than watch tv, that there might be some interest in this.
Careful! Most “free trial” subscriptions automatically charge your credit/debit card towards the end of the free period (which is usually 60 or 90 days). Make sure you call at some point and request that they cancel the auto-renewal.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but unless it’s a gift subscription then you’ve been paying for it for five years. It likely started as a “free trial” that game with a “gift” along with some purchase that, oops, forgot to tell you, authorizes them to automatically deduct renewals from your credit card. I suggest you call the publisher and find out what 3rd-party vendor you’re getting it from, then call them and tear them a new one and demand a refund.
Subscription services aren’t exactly infallible. I got Time Magazine for nearly two years past the expiration of my subscription and was never charged for it. I’m not sure they would’ve ever caught the mistake if I hadn’t moved away.
I’m pretty sure the “here’s something free, now if you don’t call us to cancel we can charge you” business model is flatly illegal unless one explicitly opts in to such a deal. Which it doesn’t sound like Angie did.
We get the same magazine, and I’m pretty sure we’re not paying for it. I think it’s purely an advertising vehicle, which they send out based on the public record of a child’s birth. On balance I don’t care much for it…
They’re totally right about video games though. It’s good for getting kids into logical thinking, and for learning to read. My youngest son is 5, and now reads at about the level of a 1st or 2nd grader. Why? At least in part, because I told his older brother he could play his favorite video games – but only if he read the text to his brother. I did the same for my older son when he was learning to read.
Obviously there were many other factors (e.g. reading books at night, the library, etc.), but I think this spark to interest, constant exposure, and manipulation of a child’s desire to emulate older siblings/parents was key.
You don’t want to over do it, and it helps tremendously if you’re a gamer and so know what games to pick, but IMHO the conventional wisdom that video games are bad for kids is flat out wrong.
Did you use a credit card at the store? If not, you’re fine, but…
Such companies - including a certain subsidiary of Time Warner for which I used to work before quitting in disgust - have all kinds of really evil tricks to get you opted into the deal. For example, if you make a purchase at certain stores (most often it was FYE or Best Buy) that offer the tie-in deals, the “agreement” to be charged after the free period is actually in fine print at the bottom of the receipt that you sign, which of course nobody expects, and the teller is very unlikely to point out the automatic charge, because they often get bonuses for signing enough people up for the “deals.” Signing the receipt then authorizes them to give the magazine company the number to whatever credit card you used at the store. And that’s not even in the top three sneakiest tricks I’ve seen them use.