In a letter sent to numerous major game companies including Blizzard, Epic Games, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Riot, lawmakers Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) push to extend UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code to the US. In an attempt to keep children away from the harmful effects caused by the recent Loot Box system used in most modern online games today implementing an addiction of gambling in the minds of children.
They write: “It is imperative that Congress acts with urgency to enact a strong privacy law for children and teens in the 21st century,” Further stating that, “As we work towards that goal, we urge you to extend to American children and teens any privacy enhancements that you implement to comply with the AADC.” The Congress members also state in the letter that loot boxes are “encouraging purchase before a child knows what the “bundle” contains–akin to gambling.”
UK’s AADC rule protects children from harmful practices on child-friendly games akin to Minecraft and Overwatch as well as keeping them away from predatory policies on social media platforms with stricter privacy settings. While this rule doesn’t extend to the United States as of yet, lawmakers push for it to be extended to the US. They also cite that the ESRB rating board doesn’t do enough to keep this kind of content away from children and that companies should create stricter regulations aligning to UK’s code and push them in the US as well.
It needs to be said that while the US has its own law protecting children’s privacy, these rules only extend to children only up to the age of 12, while the UK laws extend to all minors up to the age of 18. Loot boxes have been a long contested issue for a few years with many citing their harmful effects on the young minds of children and even though gaming companies are taking measures to improve upon this, there still need to be drastic changes in the entire system.