Web games probed over possible child pressure

Apr 12, 2013
Children use the Internet at the 20th Sao Paulo Fashion Week, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on January 20, 2006. A watchdog has launched an investigation into whether children face "unfair pressure" to spend money on apparently free web and app-based games, it said Friday.

A watchdog has launched an investigation into whether children face "unfair pressure" to spend money on apparently free web and app-based games, it said Friday.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is asking parents to get in touch with any examples of possible "commercially aggressive" practices which encourage children to buy like , gems or fruit, or upgraded membership.

It is unlawful to make a "direct exhortation" to children to make a purchase or persuade their parents to do so under consumer protection regulations.

"We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase when they are they thought were free, but which can actually run up substantial costs," said Cavendish Elthorne, the OFT's senior director for goods and consumer.

"The OFT is not seeking to ban in-game purchases, but the games industry must ensure it is complying with the relevant regulations so that children are protected.

"We are speaking to the industry and will take enforcement action if necessary."

Explore further: Where's the app for an earthquake warning?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Virtual Piggy lets children get online allowances

Mar 10, 2012

Startup Virtual Piggy is rolling out a way for parents to give children online allowances to spend on games, iPod accessories or other stuff tailored for Internet-loving youngsters.

US regulators asked to probe game bills

Feb 09, 2011

Two members of Congress asked US regulators on Tuesday to look into a newspaper report that children had rung up huge bills buying virtual products in games on mobile devices.

New UK video games regulation a 'smokescreen'

Aug 01, 2012

New legislation to stop children playing inappropriate video games will fail unless government deals with the underlying issue of irresponsible parenting, research has found.

Groupon amends practices after UK probe

Mar 16, 2012

(AP) -- A British regulator says online deals site Groupon will change the way it markets its products after drawing criticism from consumers.

Recommended for you

Where's the app for an earthquake warning?

22 hours ago

Among the many things the Bay Area learned from the recent shaker near Napa is that the University of California, Berkeley's earthquake warning system does indeed work for the handful of people who receive its messages, but ...

Hit 'Just Dance' game goes mobile Sept. 25

Sep 18, 2014

Smartphone lovers will get to show off moves almost anywhere with the Sept. 25 release of a free "Just Dance Now" game tuned for mobile Internet lifestyles.

Indie game developers sprouting at Tokyo Game Show

Sep 18, 2014

Nestled among the industry giants at the Tokyo Game Show Thursday are a growing number of small and independent games developers from Asia and Europe, all hoping they are sitting on the next Minecraft.

Review: Ambitious 'Destiny' lacks imagination

Sep 18, 2014

Midway through "Destiny," the new science fiction epic from "Halo" creators Bungie, a smug prince is musing on the hero's desire to visit a mysterious site on Mars.

User comments : 0