LeapFrog study follows OFT warning that apps shouldn’t pressurise children to spend money in-game

’60 per cent of parents give their children adult devices to play with’

A study has found that the majority of UK families allow their children to play with an adult’s smartphone or tablet device.

The study, conducted by LeapFrog UK, found that six in ten families let their child play on the devices, while 13 per cent provide the children with the passwords to log in themselves.

The beneficial use of technology in children’s lives was acknowledged by almost half (43 per cent) of the parents interviewed.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently issued a report warning mobile and tablet game developers that children should not pressurised into making in-app purchases, with 80 of the top 100 top-grossing android apps in the UK free to install but featuring the purchases as a way to generate revenue.

However, despite the danger of children spending real money on the apps, over a quarter (26 per cent) of parents said that they don’t have time to supervise the child while they use the devices, sometimes even being absent from the room.

“Whilst the OFT report examines in-app purchasing in detail, in reality it also places a spotlight on the wider issue of child-safe technology as a whole,” said Chris Spalding, SVP & Managing Director EMEA/Australasia of LeapFrog UK.

“As smart phones and adult tablets become more prevalent in households with children, it is not just about incurring costs accidentally, but also about children potentially experiencing inappropriate content via the internet”.

It had recently been reported that banks would work with the government on a scheme to punish porn sites that failed to stop underage children accessing the explicit content.

Education expert, Janette Wallis commented: “Devices can be wonderfully educational and entertaining for children, but their Wi-Fi capabilities also mean that children can stray into inappropriate or adult areas online, especially if unsupervised. Parents can take simple measures to control their child’s tech experiences but don’t always know where to start – this is where brands within this sector could help”.

LeapFrog offers dedicated tablets which have been designed to only offer experiences suitable for children.

“This gives parents peace of mind as they let their children independently discover, play and explore valuable web content,” said Spalding.

Image of grandson using tablet with grandfather courtesy of Shutterstock.co.uk

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