How to Prevent Your Child from Overspending on Gaming
The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
9 January 2022
Mr Chong Ee Jay, a cyber wellness expert at Focus on the Family Singapore, advises parents to review the settings on their devices. For instance, they can ensure that passwords are set up so that their children need to ask them for permission before they buy anything online, including virtual currency.
If the parents' smartphone is linked to their child's, they can set up automatic notifications on their device so that they are alerted when their child wants to make an in-app purchase or download any apps onto his phone.
Parents may even choose to disable in-game purchases, while parental control apps can help them monitor their children's screen time and online activities.
Parents should also opt to receive alerts on their phones when any e-payments are made, though some may prefer to disable such notifications, given the ubiquity of cashless transactions these days, Mr Chong says.
Do not let the "convenience" of cashless payments leave open loopholes that let your child have free rein when it comes to his gaming, he adds.
Mr Chong suggests that kids co-pay for in-game purchases so that they "feel the pinch" and have a sense of ownership in the purchasing decision.
Warning signs of excessive in-app purchases should be promptly addressed, he adds.
He says possible warning signs include spending long hours gaming; being preoccupied with gaming to the point where daily routines are affected; changes in sleep patterns and appetite; disengaging from friends and family, and minimising their valid concerns; and verbal and emotional aggression.
In one case, a parent showed him a bruise on the arm, acquired when the parent tried to switch off the Wi-Fi to stop the child's gaming. In another case, a child smashed a cupboard in a similarly aggressive response.