Many parents around the world see video games as a way to keep your child still and quiet for a few hours doing something that they enjoy, but these days in the world of microtransactions, parents are growing increasingly concerned about their kids spending money in games due to microtransactions.
There are a wide variety of news stories that talk about kids with no inkling that they’re actually using real currency spending thousands of dollars of their parents’ money buying things with no ideas of the consequence, causing financial hardship and chaos in their families.
According to a survey in the UK, 39% of parents in that country with kids that are aged 5 to 15 years old are concerned that their kids are being pressured to purchase items with real money. 17% of kids aged from 12 to 15 years old have accidentally bought something with real money as well.
Those figures are up from 16% last year from parents with kids aged three to four years old, while parents with kids from 5 to 15 years old is up to 39%, a nine point jump from last year. The accidental use of in-app purchases is also up from last year, when it had previously only been 9% of gaming kids ages 12 to 15.
Considering what happened in 2017 with Star Wars Battlefront 2 and its microtransaction controversy, their worries are well-founded. A huge part of the game’s heroes were locked behind microtransactions or grind-fests, sparking a huge controversy around the game and a crusade against microtransactions and loot boxes in multiple American states and European countries, with Belgium banning the practice of loot boxes.
Considering that loot boxes often contain a wide variety of goodies, it stands to reason that people will buy a large number of them in order to try and get those goodies for themselves. And since kids, especially very young ones, don’t quite understand the value of money yet (and don’t even have their own money to begin with), kids spending money in games can often end up buying thousands, spending hundreds of dollars of their parents’ money in the process.
And that’s not even getting into mobile games, which are often also used heavily by children, especially when said mobile games are hooked up to their parents’ phone and credit card. Better hope your child doesn’t like Candy Crush. At the same time, however, many phones have the option to ask the parent for permission if they truly want to purchase something, which can definitely help to mitigate this issue and keep kids spending money in games from spending too much.