A 13 year old girl in the province of Henan, China, recently became the centre of attention when she reportedly blew through her family’s life savings on mobile games. Worse, she did so without them knowing.
According to a report by the regional TV channel, Elephant News, the girl breezed through US$64,000 (~RM295,347) of her parents’ money on a variety of mobile game-related purchases. Between the months of January and May, she spent around US$16,800 (~RM77,528) purchasing multiple game account, and close to US$30,000 (~RM138,444) on in-game purchases. As for the rest of the amount, she transferred it to 10 other classmates who also wanted to buy the same in-game products as her and pestered her for it, bringing the total bill up to US$64,000. “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,” the girl said to Elephant News.
Now, clearly, the girl was aware that her spending spree – let’s be honest, she’s also very clearly addicted to mobile games – and because she had linked her mother’s debit card to her mobile phone, she then began deleting the chat and transaction records from her spending spree, in order to cover her tracks. But, as we all know, that’s not how commerce works.
The girl’s situation all came to a head when her mother, Gong Yiwang, checked her bank account and found that all that was left was a mere seven cents. Understandably alarmed at the massive void in her bank account, she then confronted her daughter about it, who eventually came clean about her mobile game addiction. Since the story’s coverage in May, Gong said that she has reached out to the many payment platforms that her daughter used, requesting for refunds but to date, she has yet to recoup the whole amount
The worse part of the story is that the girl is not alone in this. Addiction to video and mobile games among youths is rampant in China, which is why back in 2021, the country’s government enforced a 3-hour per week gaming restriction for children below the age of 18, saying that the medium is a “spiritual opium” and is detrimental to the mental health of minors.