Simon Read: Firms must stop targeting kids with freemium games

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The Independent Online

My children love playing games on their electronic devices. When they first started downloading them I thought it was great that so many were free. But I soon discovered this was not as a result of a sharing free-for-all nature of the internet.

Instead it's a cynical attempt by games producers to sucker kids - and adults - into handing over hundreds of pounds.

Players are enticed to get "bonuses" or move up levels quickly by pressing a pop-up button, which is normally an agreement to pay plenty for the privilege. If there are no restrictions on a phone or tablet, users may access stored credit or debit card details, and simply buy all the extras they want, running up massive bills.

The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into the issue. But with parents being landed with average £34 extra charges by game-playing kids, the crackdown must start now. Freemium games must be outlawed or clearly labelled as "expensive scams".

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