If you’re reading this, you are probably an education technology kinda person. You know all about the draconian terms and conditions that apps and websites make you agree to. And being a tech savvy teacher who likes to lead by example, you read every word, and only sign or tick the “I agree” box if you’re totally happy with the agreement, right? Right. Me too. Oh look, I just saw the whole of London Zoo go flying past.
Imagine how much better it would be if companies presented their Ts and Cs in an entertaining format that encouraged you to read them all. I don’t think many of them would go for that idea, frankly, but that’s exactly what R. Sikoryak has done in this “unauthorized adaptation” of Apple’s Terms and Conditions.
If you’re looking for a great horror story, look no further. Their Ts and Cs are somewhat worrying, or at least the bits I can understand are. The number of things the company is not responsible for, and what you indemnify them against is pretty depressing. Not that Apple is alone of course. Even my own website’s Terms and Conditions are full of dire warnings (they even scare me)!
So, given that a book like this is not going to make the slightest difference to whether any of us tick the box, what’s the point of it?
Well, first of all, you might not understand all the terminology, and you may not change your behaviour, but you will at least be the better informed.
Secondly, it would be good for pupils to realise what kind of things they are asked to agree to. It may make them think twice about using apps that ask for data without appearing to have a good reason for doing so. It may even make them more aware generally. For example, some competitions open to youngsters state that the organisers get the copyright of whatever entrants submit, and can use it however they like without attribution or payment. Kids or their parents may not mind that sort of arrangement in return for possible fame and glory, but they ought to be given a proper, that is to say informed, choice. I believe that this book, while nothing to do with competitions, may help to raise kids’ awareness of issues like intellectual property, data, and so on, especially as it’s not all bad news. For example, part of Terms and Conditions is to do with taking responsibility for keeping your login details secret. I would therefore highly recommend that you buy a copy or two of this book for your education technology library.
That comment about choice is very apposite. The third strength of this book is that it’s so interesting and entertaining to look at you want to read the contents, boring though they are. Some of the facial expressions are quite humorous. Another great thing about the book is that each page is illustrated in a different style. For example, in some the characters are taken from Archie comics. There are also Superman, gangster, cowboy and Wonder Woman take-offs. In fact, part of the fun of reading this book is trying to identify the different comic characters and styles used.