The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)


With the Children's Media Conference concerns very much in mind, the CMF's Greg Childs and Marc Goodchild took a small group of interested industry people to the Office of Fair Trading, to talk about their  investigation of "free"children's web and app-based games. 

CMF learned that OFT are NOT planning to create more regulation, but examining whether certain examples of in-app purchasing are breaches of currentlegislation. The Consumer Protection Act is designed to prevent misleading information about pricing and unreasonable pressure to buy.  In the digital space the same criteria apply, though interpreting them is a new field and requires some thought.The OFT have held off warnings or prosecutions until they have completed their review.  They were keen to collaborate with the industry and to seek out examples of good practice, while also  very enthusiastic to find research on how children perceive purchasing in the virtual environment - what leads a child to pay, when are they under pressure, what is their attitude to value, compared to their real-world experience?The final aim - a comprehensive, Europe-wide guideline as to how to avoid exploitation, while maintaining engaging game-play, reasonable pricing and clear messaging.

The CMF role in this will be to connect the OFT with key academic researchers who can advise them, while also maintaining links with industry practitioners so that they can contribute fully to the OFT's thinking.

If you want to join the conversation with OFT, either from the research or the practitioner perspective, please get in touch with Greg Childs.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)