The Australian: *CENSORED*ography and ads in children's apps 'grey area' - IAB Australia

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson National Technology Editor, July 01, 2013 2:02PM

ADVERTISEMENTS for *CENSORED*ography and sex chat lines are appearing in apps made for children but Australia's advertising industry says it is powerless to stop them, calling the issue "tricky and "a grey area".

Advertising regulators instead say they are unable to prosecute overseas advertisers and rather than seek the power to do so they advise parents to "take some responsibility" for what their children see in apps.

One example of the trend saw available Vietnamese women advertised in TabTale Production's Jack and the Beanstalk Kids App from the Apple App Store. The interactive storybook also features a counting game and jigsaw puzzle.

Cyber Safety Solutions advisor Susan McLean says the ad issue is becoming "common", particularly in free apps where developers rely on in-app advertising for revenue.

"I was talking to a mother recently about some inappropriate ads that popped up when her child was playing a game,'' she said. "It's not a one-off. People think these apps are for kids but that doesn't always work."

Despite its spread, Interactive Advertising Bureau acting chief executive Samantha Yorke said the issue remained a "grey area" for regulators as these advertisers were often based outside Australia.

"It's obviously a challenge, especially if you're looking at children's apps and games,'' Ms Yorke said.

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