Xenophon argues for apps regulation

first_imgSenator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon has flagged his intention to lobby for tighter regulations preventing children from racking up huge bills using real money to play online games. The move follows last month’s ABC Lateline program, which revealed some youngsters are spending thousands of dollars of real money to buy virtual coins, accessories and tools by charging their parents’ iTunes accounts without any warning. Senator Xenophon has warned these addictive games can normalise gambling behaviour in children, who are often manipulated by colourful graphics and deceptive language to spend money without even realising it. “These apps teach children the core elements of gambling behaviour,” said the Independent Senator. “Apps developers rely on triggering emotional responses to create an addictive gaming environment for children. These exploitative tactics could have come straight from the poker machine lobby’s playbook.” The Senator added that while parental responsibility was important, many parents are not aware of the real costs associated with these apps. “If Apple, Android and others are allowing these apps to be accessed on their devices, then they have a responsibility to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent kids from racking up big debts and developing dangerous addictions. “How effective can parents really be in this area when they are often not as familiar with this technology as their young children? Apple’s assertion that regulation is solely the parent’s responsibility is quite frankly insulting.” Senator Xenophon says he will move for changes to Australian Consumer Law, which would provide parents with an additional safeguard system preventing kids from debiting a credit card without parental approval. “Changes to the ACL could force these companies to introduce two-tiered password system where only parents could approve any in-game purchases where real money was being spent,” said Senator Xenophon. “It’s not about removing parental responsibility, it’s about legislating to protect our kids from developing an addictive and dangerous habit.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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