Teen in China splurges $85k on mobile games, depletes family’s savings
A 13-year-old girl in China who is addicted to mobile games stole her mother’s debit card and spent 449,500 yuan (S$85,000) on app games in four months.
The mother, who wanted to be known only as Ms Wang, discovered the theft when she got a call from her daughter’s secondary school teacher who noticed that the girl was spending a lot of time on her cellphone.
To her horror, Ms Wang discovered that there was only 0.5 yuan left in her bank account after her daughter’s spending spree, Chinese media outlet Elephant News reported.
In a viral video posted with the news report, Ms Wang, who is from Henan province in central China, is seen crying as she recounts the shock she felt when she saw the multiple pages of transactions made.
She said: “I wanted to knock my head against the ground when I realised what had happened. How could a 13-year-old girl do such a thing?”
When the girl’s father confronted her about the spending, she admitted to spending 120,000 yuan on games, 210,000 yuan on in-game purchases and another 100,000 yuan buying games for at least 10 of her classmates.
The girl said in the video that she was reluctant to pay for her classmates but gave in when they kept pestering her.
“I did not dare to tell my teacher as she would inform my parents about what was happening and they would get angry,” she added.
She said she did not understand how much money was in the debit card, or that the funds were her parents’ hard-earned money.
She knew the card’s password as her mother had given it to her in case she needed money when no one was home.
Ms Wang said her daughter had deleted all the transaction records on her cellphone so she did not realise what had happened until she got the call from the teacher.
A McGill University study on smartphone addiction that looked at those aged 15 to 35 from 24 countries found that China had the highest number of smartphone addicts, followed by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
In Singapore, an 18-year-old girl used her father’s credit card without his permission and bought $20,000 worth of online in-game purchases. She did so from August to October 2021 by using her Grab e-wallet, which was tied to his credit card to cover her transport expenses.