App Store apps for kids

Suffice it to say that unmonitored in-app purchases by kids have proved problematic -- most of all for the parents who first learn about them through a gigantic bill. The UK's Office of Fair Trading is concerned enough that it's launching an investigation into whether mobile- and web-based games for the junior set are running afoul of consumer protection laws. Its six-month study will explore whether or not those games are "misleading or aggressive" when they goad kids into parting with real cash for virtual goods; the regulator also hopes to hear from game developers, app store operators and the parents themselves. OFT senior director Cavendish Elithorn tells the BBC that the investigation won't likely ban in-app purchasing when all is said and done, but we wouldn't be surprised if the outcome involves more than just a few app store disclaimers.

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UK investigates in-app purchases for possible consumer law violations