A mom had the shock of her life when she discovered the eyewatering sum of money her 6-year-old son had unknowingly racked up on a popular video game.
And it was only made worse when Apple reportedly refused to refund her. Safe to say, people are stunned after finding out why…
It’s the scenario every parent dreads, isn’t it?
Real estate broker, Jessica Johnson, had no idea that one of her 2 sons, George, had been accidentally getting up to no good on her iPad.
Well, it was too late, and the consequences she has to pay now are nothing short of devastating.
Over 2 billion people all over the world play video games, with 150 million of those being here in the United States alone.
Studies have found that gaming can be educational, can help to enhance problem-solving skills, coordination, and can improve attention and concentration.
Remarkably, online gaming enables many players to engage in a game simultaneously, so gamers can both make new friends online while strengthening their relationship with existing friends.
Comes the many cons.
For others, they can become a harmful habit.
More and more people, especially children and teenagers, are finding themselves becoming addicted to gaming.
And this addiction can carry with it many health consequences.
In the short-term, avid gamers may experience disruptions to their sleeping habits, leading to fatigue, sleepiness, or insomnia.
While some online games can improve these social skills, gamers are known for isolating themselves away from other people for hours or, in some extreme cases, days at a time, leading to a decrease in regular social interaction and a potential loss of friends.
And, for the instance of this particular story…
Video games can also wind up costing a lot of money.
The forty-one-year-old had the shock none of us ever want to endure when she discovered that the youngest of her 2 sons had gone on an accidental shopping spree on her iPad.
6-year-old George had been playing Sonic Forces, a Sonic the Hedgehog themed game…
And had been collecting add-on boosters, features that allow access to new characters and more speed.
George’s boosters varied from $1.99 red rings all the way up to $99.99 gold rings.
Of course, little George didn’t understand that these add-ons cost real money…
But that didn’t stop the money from being taken from his mom’s account.
When Jessica discovered Apple and PayPal were withdrawing hefty sums – $562 here, $601 there – from her Chase account, she assumed it was a mistake or fraud and called the bank, confused by the unitemized charges.
“The way the charges get bundled made it almost impossible [to figure out that] they were from a game,” she said.
Only to be told later in October that the charges were indeed hers and she needed to contact Apple.
A member of staff was walking her through a “buried running list of all the charges” when she suddenly spotted the Sonic icon – then, she knew it was George.
“He said, ‘Well, I’ll pay you back, Mom.'”
As Apple has reportedly refused her a refund.
“[Apple] said, ‘Tough.’ They told me that, because I didn’t call within sixty days of the charges, that they can’t do anything. The reason I didn’t call within sixty days is because Chase told me it was likely fraud – that PayPal and Apple.com are top fraud charges.”
“They’re like, ‘There’s a setting, you should have known’.”
“Obviously, if I had known there was a setting for that, I wouldn’t have allowed my 6-year-old to run up nearly $20,000 in charges for virtual gold rings… These games are designed to be completely predatory and get kids to buy things. What grown-up would spend $100 on a chest of virtual gold coins?”
Especially as she hasn’t been paid from her job in nearly 8 months due to the pandemic, Complex reported.
“My son didn’t understand that the money was real. How could he? He’s playing a cartoon game in a world that he knows is not real. Why would the money be real to him? That would require a big cognitive leap.”
Jessica now has no choice but to pay off the debt.
“Check your security settings. I’m appalled that this is even possible in these games and that Apple devices are not pre-set to prevent this.”
Apple is yet to address the incident.
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