REGULATION IS FAILING TO PROTECT OUR KIDS ONLINE
A lack of regulation has lead to online practices that are potentially harmful to our kids:
- 500.000 teenagers in the UK alone are skin gambling simply because virtual currency is not defined in the gambling law.
- Video game loot boxes are linked to problem gambling.
- For a small proportion of players, gaming behaviours may lead to significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning.
- Check out these games targeted at kids and full of nastiness, guns and gore.
- This BBC investigation claims that Tik Tok failed to remove online predators from its platform.
- Casino operators actively introduce gaming in their products. Here’s an article about how they use video games to lure in the millennials.
Not just me saying that we need regulation. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple agrees that ‘Tech needs to be regulated or it could cause great damage to society’.
So what’s holding this back??
Well first of all lawmakers argue that gaming is a worldwide phenomenon so legislating it is ‘too hard’.
In my opinion the hard things are worth doing! And many jurisdictions are taking action despite it being hard:
- China now prohibits games that feature blood and gore and games that feature gambling.
- Iraq considers a ban on Fortnite and other violent games.
- PUBG is banned in India claiming it has a negative impact on young people’s mental health. This has now been overturned by the Supreme Court.
- Belgium and the Netherlands legislated in relation to lootboxes last year.
The gaming industry is traditionally opposed to increased regulation claiming it will hamper innovation and growth of a booming industry.
I strongly dispute this. Regulation is in the best interest of the entire video game industry. Industry needs regulation to grow sustainably and we need it to keep our kids safe.
Where to from here?
So much of the online world is proudly open source. It relies on people sharing their skills and knowledge in order to build the products of the future.
Why can’t we do the same when it comes to the health and safety of our children?
Collaboration and sharing of information between industry, academia and legislators will lead to effective regulation that supports both sustainable growth and the safety of its users.
We don’t need bans or restrictions. We need safe products so parents can feel at ease when their kids play with their new toys.
This post was written on the 1st of May 2019 by Steven Dupon.