It’s not just fun and games.
A teenager in China exhausted her family’s life savings on video games, buying $64,000 worth of paid mobile entertainment.
According to Insider, Gong Yiwang, the 13-year-old’s mother, had no idea her daughter was charging her debit card until she received a phone call from school.
The worried phone at home prompted Yiwang to check her bank account, realizing that her balance was down to 7 cents.
Yiwang reportedly discovered that her teenage daughter went on a five-month spending spree from January to May, totaling around $16,800 on game accounts and nearly $30,000 on in-game purchases.
“I never thought a 13-year-old girl could do this,” Yiwang told local television station Elephant News, per Insider. “I am in a trance; I feel like my head is going to explode.
But Yiwang’s daughter told Elephant News she didn’t know where the money or tab she had accrued came from, she just knew that her mother’s bank account was linked to her mobile phone.
However, she apparently deleted transactions and messages to hide the evidence from her parents.
The girl also offered funds to jealous classmates who wanted to gamble after he harassed her for money.
“If I didn’t text them they would bother me all day,” the sad teenager said. “If I told the teacher, I was afraid that the teacher would tell my parents and my parents would be angry.”
Yiwang is now trying to recover the money lost due to her child’s gambling habits, saying she has applied for refunds from a number of platforms but has yet to receive the funds.
In recent years, China has tried to curb children’s addiction to online games by limiting their playing time to three hours a week in 2021.
With many of the country’s younger generations glued to their devices, the government has introduced internet addiction camps, intended to treat those suffering from internet addiction disorder.