An 8-year-old kid spends P100k on a mobile game. What would you do if you were the parent in this situation?
If you have a kid who uses a gadget to play games, you probably encountered them bugging you to buy gems or coins inside the game. No big deal, right? But what would you do if the spending gets out of hand, say, a hundred thousand pesos?
Parents Jay and Grace Locsin found themselves in this situation a couple of months ago when one of their kids accidentally spends P100k on a mobile game. We reached out to Mommy Grace, a working mom who manages her own consultancy company. She agreed to talk to us about the issue and share their learnings as a family.
In this article, you will read:
- A kid spends P100k on a mobile game – interview with the mom
- You kid spends money on a game – what to do before it gets out of hand
- How to talk to your child about this issue
My kid spends 100k on a mobile game – interview with Mommy Grace
What alerted you and your husband to the costs?
I was going through a bank statement so I can send it to our finance department for bookkeeping and accounting. I noticed that there were some deductions that day from one of our accounts. When I looked closer, it was not family or business-related (expense). Then I was able to track it from my husband’s phone which my son, Tice was using.
The most understanding parents of a kid who accidentally spent 100k on a mobile game.
What rules do you have about screen time?
We allow them one to two hours of tech time from Monday to Friday. Only with the apps we approve of. These are Super Book, Messenger for Kids (their cousins are in the US), and War Robots (for Tice). Sovi doesn’t like War Robots but he has drums and piano learning apps instead.
Were you able to recoup the expenses?
As of writing, not yet.
How did you reprimand your son?
My initial reaction was to be mad. I called my twins right away and asked them what happened. At first, Tice reasoned out that he upgraded the game because the previous version was too easy for him. When my husband arrived and talked to them again, Tice cried and explained that he did not know it costs something. He thought all of it was free.
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The cute Locsin brothers
Have you since put alternatives in place for screen time or no?
Yes. They are homeschooled so they have a daily routine. During their free time, they play with their toys, ride bikes, and read.
What are the lessons you learned from this as a family?
It’s different for us and the kids. For them, we emphasized the importance of following rules and what the consequences are when there is disobedience.
For us as parents, especially for me, the lesson was being patient and not jumping to conclusions right away. Not to react but to respond. I learned not allow my biases on what I think happened to take over. Instead, have the patience to check facts first and allow your kids to explain.
I was also reminded to focus on (correcting) the wrongdoing and not on the costs. No amount of money in the world should be the measure of love for our kids.
What lessons do you want your kids to learn from this experience?
We want them to see the importance of why there are rules and guidelines in place. It will help them especially when they become men and leaders when they grow up.
We need to give our kids guidelines about using gadgets.
Based on this experience, what is your advice to parents and how to handle it?
To still look at their children with love despite the height of our emotions when an incident like this happens. Learn to be patient and focus on correcting the mistake out of love, not out of frustration.
If you could go back in time, what do you think you would’ve done differently?
We would have set up Google Play properly before giving the phone to them. Things like setting up passwords for purchases.
What you can learn from this
Mommy Grace wished she took time to set up Google Play properly before letting Tice use the phone. Whether your child has his own gadget, or you’re just letting him borrow yours from time to time, it’s really important for us parents to set limits and restrictions before letting them use these devices.
Setting up parental controls on your family’s gadgets
Do it for two reasons: 1) It prevents accidents like this from happening, and 2) it ensures that our children are not exposed to harmful stuff on the internet.
Here are some ways to set up parental controls on your phones or tablets
If you’re using an Apple device, here’s how to prevent iTunes and App Store purchases:
- Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
- Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode.
- Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.
- Choose a setting and set to Don’t Allow.
Here’s how to set up parental controls on Google Play and Android devices:
- On the device you want parental controls on, open the Play Store app.
- In the top left corner, tap Menu , then go to Settings, then Parental controls.
- Turn on Parental controls.
- Create a PIN. This is to prevent people who don’t know the PIN (like your child) from changing your parental control settings. If you’re setting up parental controls on your child’s device, choose a PIN they don’t already know.
- Tap the type of content you want to filter.
- Choose how to filter or restrict access.
Check the parental control options on your device’s settings to make sure you put limited access on web and explicit content. If your kid is using his own gadget, go to privacy settings and turn off the location to prevent abusive adults from tracing your child’s information and whereabouts.
It’s time to talk
Accidents happen, especially when you have kids. We’re all guilty of leaving our kids with the gadgets when we’re preoccupied with something else.
But we can all learn from Mommy Grace’s story and keep a watchful eye on what our kids are doing while on their mobile devices. Before handing the gadget, quickly remind them about the do’s and don’ts. Let’s sit down with them from time to time and ask them what they’re playing. We can even spend an extra five minutes learning the game and bonding with our kids.
You can also tell your child the story of a kid who accidentally spends P100k on a mobile game. Not to scare him or discourage him from playing, but to teach him important lessons related to this.
We can take this cue to open up a conversation with our children about financial responsibility and the value of money.
It’s also a great time to start talking about trust. Talk to your children about how they can ask permission from you before they do something like downloading stuff on games, or more important stuff, in the future.
Instead of focusing on the unfortunate situation, remember that this will be a valuable lesson to your child that he can use in the future.
What would you do if your kid spends P100k on a mobile game? Tell us in the comments section!