The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has proposed new rules for online gamers, who are unfairly pressuring kids into buying extra features on free smartphone and iPad games.
The proposal follows an analysis of 38 web and app-based games that found that some games included "unfair and aggressive commercial practises to which children may be particularly susceptible."
The regulator said such practices were breaching consumer protection laws and that companies needed to make changes to ensure they were complying with legal obligations.
The proposals include new rules for apps and internet browser-based video games via Facebook and other sites, that state users should be told about potential costs prior to downloading.
App developers must also avoid using language or any other means that exploits a child's immaturity and can only accept payments only if the account holder furnishes 'informed consent'.
OFT's executive director Cavendish Elithorn said:"This is a new and innovative industry that has grown rapidly in recent years, but it needs to ensure it is treating consumers fairly and that children are protected," Elithorn said.
"This is a global industry so we're also sharing our principles with our enforcement partners worldwide with the goal of achieving some common international standards."
OFT has been working in collaboration with partners in Europe, North America and Australia to implement same policies elsewhere.