On the second day of Christmas
"On the second day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me,
A cap on children's spending,
And a Christmas card of a celebrity family."
Who knows Raymond Briggs' 1982 classic "The Snowman"? Ever since I was young, I watched this on the television every single Christmas Eve without fail and I always felt as if I was in a trance after watching it; almost as if I'm walking in the air...
As you may already know, in 2012 a new character was introduced to the Christmas classic - "The Snowdog" - to mark the original film's 30th anniversary and to star in the forthcoming sequential "The Snowman and The Snowdog".
The Snowman and The Snowdog topped the British app charts last Christmas with their free game, launched by Channel 4 for Apple and Android devices. This year's updated version of the game is the first app to introduce a cap on the amount that children can spend on items for the game - £20 being the maximum. This has been put into place as a result of government concern earlier this year - following numerous stories of horrific expenditures parents have faced.
Coincidently, earlier this year one of my colleagues at Popcorn found that her daughter had very innocently accumulated a £600 bill from purchasing virtual diamonds for a game. Luckily the family was reimbursed in the end, but not everyone in this situation is so fortunate. Hopefully this demonstrates just how easy it is for this kind of incidence to happen; particularly when the games aren't sufficient in educating children when real money is involved.
As mentioned, "The Snowman and The Snowdog" game itself is free to download, but children can buy 'virtual snowflakes' etc for the game, costing up to £3.99 a time. Fortunately, through succeeding in the game, children can also unlock free snowflakes, avoiding having to spend anything. On the face of it, this reward for success in financial terms is definitely a positive for the children/parents but is it righteous socially? The worry here is that it could encourage children to spend even more of their time on gadgets, instead of spending time with their friends and being active. From my perspective, I really appreciate the games industry and have a tablet myself, but old fashioned as 21 can sound, I think the games/app world has taken over children's lives from far too young an age.
What are your thoughts on this?
Over and Out
Steph - The Marketing Assistantwww.popcornwebdesign.co.uk