Parents stay alert: Here’s how a 10-year-old girl spent her mum’s ₦‎2m playing online games

Avatar
Parents stay alert: Here’s how a 10-year-old girl spent her mum’s ₦‎2m playing online games
Online game on iPad

In recent times, the dynamics of children’s play have shifted significantly. Rather than engaging in physical activities like playing ludo and boju-boju with friends, kids have increasingly turned to technology and online games for entertainment. Unfortunately, this transition hasn’t always been smooth or pleasant for some families.

A recent report by BBC highlighted a concerning incident where a 10-year-old girl, diagnosed with autism, managed to spend over £2,500 (₦‎2m) on the popular online game platform, Roblox without her mother’s knowledge.

Georgina Munday, a 44-year-old resident of Dyserth, initially suspected a hack when she noticed her daughter spending excessive time on the family iPad tablet. However, it soon became apparent that the young girl had altered the device’s password, enabling unauthorized payments.

Georgina faced an arduous process involving negotiations with Tesco Bank and Apple to secure a refund, which goes against the platform’s refund policy. Despite the odds, she managed to recover her money. Unfortunately, countless other victims have not been as fortunate, losing significant amounts of money within the realm of online gaming.

Read Also: 2 major ways to make money from playing online games like COD, FIFA and Fortnite

The issue of unauthorized in-app purchases for online games

The issue of parental concerns regarding children’s unrestricted access to digital platforms, specifically in-app purchases for online games, has long been recognized. In 2014, major corporations such as Apple, Amazon, and Google faced lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to unauthorized in-app game purchases made by children without parental consent.

Online games and in-app purchases

Surprisingly, some of these transactions occurred without the constant need for passwords. This trend continued, as The Guardian reported in 2020, highlighting a significant increase in unauthorized in-game purchasing carried out by children.

Smartphone manufacturers have incorporated tough security measures, passcodes, passwords, patterns and biometric security features like Face ID and iris scanning on Android and iOS devices. Despite all of these, giving your child your iPad or phone to play some of the very popular online games that already have in-app game purchases is a big risk.

While it is possible to issue refunds for certain in-app purchases, there are circumstances in which charges cannot be refunded. In cases where your child is an authorized user, such as when you, as the cardholder, add them as a user, they are given the ability to make purchases on your account without requiring your consent.

Ultimately, the three parties involved—the cardholder, the bank/card issuer, and the app provider—have limited recourse in addressing this issue, as the responsibility for your child’s actions rests with you.

The question here is: if you cannot beat the refund policy, how can you avoid falling into that sort of trap again and get ahead of your kid’s tricky unauthorized credit card charges?

Read Also: Here are 3 P2E games that can help you increase your income

How to avoid falling victim to kids’ unauthorized in-app purchase charges

Parents stay alert: Here’s how a 10-year-old girl spent her mum’s ₦‎2m playing online games
Parents watch over their children as they play games

Passwords and Parental Controls: Kids might be able to break through your phone security but it is advisable to make use of parental control features especially if you are leaving the child unsupervised. Some parental control features can provide the option to disable purchases for your children’s accounts.

Delete Saved Payment Information: It is advisable to delete any saved payment information from websites that offer the convenience of storing billing details for expedited checkouts. Although, not all app stores allow for this practice, again, this is highly recommended.

Financial knowledge for kids: Maybe it is just high time you started financial education for your children. This proactive approach fosters healthy financial habits and enables them to comprehend the fundamentals of making purchases and managing bills effectively.

Set Guidelines for Authorized Card Use: If you choose the option of making your child an authorized user on a credit card, it is important to establish clear guidelines delineating permissible purchases and spending limits. Although, some card issuers facilitate the setting of predefined limits for authorized card usage and provide alerts when transactions exceed a specified dollar amount.

All these practices not only help you avoid falling victim to kids’ unauthorized in-app purchase charges practices but also help in allowing your kids to cultivate financial habits.


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!