Can you say “cheap political points”? British MPs are raising their voices over plans by a couple of telcos to sell mobile content that may be attractive to kids…Orange is considering Zap Zone, which “allows children to download pictures to their phones, create a virtual ‘bedroom’ and engage in online chat communities and competitions.” Meanwhile, O2 is talking to Disney about launching a Disney-branded service.
As a result the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mobile Communications is threatening a legal crackdown over a breach of the UK code of conduct about not marketing mobile services to children.
Although the telcos claim they won’t market to children Phil Willis, chairman of the All-Party Mobile Group, said: “Whether they are directly marketing is pure semantics at the end of the day. If they are selling services that are attractive to children, then that is against the spirit of the code and the Government has a duty to regulate where the industry cannot self-regulate.”
This is based on the idea that children “could be more vulnerable to undiscovered effects of mobile phones”, despite the fact that no adverse effects have been found. I think the concerns raised are bordering on the ridiculous after so many studies have failed to turn up anything, but “save the kiddies” is a safe political catch-cry.
The biggest threat seems to be RSI from too much texting…