Upgrading the protection of children from manipulative and addictive strategies in online games

Legal and technical solutions beyond privacy regulation


  • Tommaso Crepax
  • Jan Tobias Mühlberg




children, ethics, privacy


Despite the increasing awareness from academia, civil society and media to the issue of child manipulation online, the current EU regulatory system fails at providing sufficient levels of protection. Given the universality of the issue, there is a need to combine and further these scattered efforts into a unitary, multidisciplinary theory of digital manipulation that identifies causes and effects, systematizes the technical and legal knowledge on manipulative and addictive tactics, and to find effective regulatory mechanisms to fill the legislative gaps. In this paper we discuss manipulative and exploitative strategies in the context of online games for children, suggest a number of possible reasons for the failure of the applicable regulatory system, propose an “upgrade" for the regulatory approach to address these risks from the perspective of freedom of thought, and present and discuss technological approaches that allow for the development of games that verifiably protect the privacy and freedoms of players.


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How to Cite

Crepax , Tommaso, and Jan Tobias Mühlberg. 2022. “Upgrading the Protection of Children from Manipulative and Addictive Strategies in Online Games: Legal and Technical Solutions Beyond Privacy Regulation”. The International Review of Information Ethics 31 (1). Edmonton, Canada. https://doi.org/10.29173/irie480.