WTF?! In yet another example of how addictive pay-to-win mobile titles can be, a 13-year-old girl in China spent around $64,000 that was stolen from her mother on app games, wiping out her parents' savings in just four months.
The unnamed child, a secondary school student from Henan, was only caught by her mother after a teacher called to say she thought the girl might be addicted to mobile games after noticing how much time the 13-year-old spent on her phone.
Regional TV channel Elephant News reported that the mother, whose surname is Wang, checked her bank and found it contained just 0.5 yuan, or seven cents.
When confronted by her father, the girl confessed to spending $17,000 on buying games and $29,526 on in-app purchases, an amount worthy of Diablo Immortal. She also spent thousands giving money to at least ten classmates who wanted to buy games themselves. In total, the girl spent around $64,000.
"When they asked me to pay for their games, I paid despite feeling reluctant," the girl said. "If I didn't send it to them, they would bother me all day. If I told the teacher, I was afraid that the teacher would tell my parents and that my parents would be angry."
As we've seen in other cases of kids spending their parents' money on games, the daughter had found her mother's debit card at home and linked it to her phone. She also knew the card's password as the mother had told it to her in case the girl needed money when her parents weren't around.
While the girl said she didn't understand much about money or where it came from, she knew to delete chat records and payment transactions to hide evidence of her spending from her parents.
The mother has tried to get a refund from several payment companies but has yet to receive the full amount back.
Many on social media have little sympathy for the girl, noting that she understood what she was doing, especially in deleting the transaction records. Others blame the parents.
China has long held a dim view of video games, calling them "electronic drugs" a few years ago. It only allows those under 18 to play online games for one hour, between 8 pm and 9 pm local time, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
We've seen plenty of cases like these before, though the amount the girl spent is much higher than usual. In 2017, an 11-year-old spent almost £6,000 (around $7,465) on in-app purchases over the course of just two weekends. And in 2020, a dad discovered his daughter, also 11, spent $6,000 on Roblox, claiming she thought it was Monopoly money.