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Tips for stopping your child from using your credit card in video games

Trish Gilbert didn’t know how much money his two sons were spending on digital merchandise on Fortnite during the pandemic. In 2020, the total was $ 955.

Gilbert, a product and marketing consultant in Mountain View, California, said: d Please contact us. Obviously, there were times when the boy decided to buy something and didn’t come to mom and dad. “

Gilbert said she and her husband became lazy about monitoring their boys’ spending in the turmoil of a pandemic life. They did not enable controls on the PlayStation 4 game console that would prevent unauthorized claims. My 10- and 12-year-old sons used their parents’ credit cards to buy V-Bucks, the “Fortnite” currency used to buy avatar skins and other items.

A printout of an in-game purchase made by Trish Gilbert’s son over the past year.

The children themselves were unaware of it. In family stories, they speculated that they spent $ 200 to $ 300 on the game. The story was helpful, but Gilbert said, “I changed my account settings to’password required at checkout’.”

The kids were already Spend a lot of money on digital products Before the pandemic. However, those amounts increased as the children spent extra time on their home devices during the shutdown. In-game purchases on mobile devices, PCs and consoles reached about $ 100 billion worldwide last year, up about 18% from 2019, according to Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. ..

Share your thoughts

Did your child spend more money on digital products during the pandemic? How do you manage it? Join the conversation below.

Many parents have discovered that their children are spending huge amounts of money on Robux, the in-game currency of the Roblox gaming platform. Anya Sarre said he discovered that his 8-year-old son had spent much more money In the game More than she noticed when her tax preparer asked about all Roblox claims. Mr. Sale said his son was always asking for permission and approved the accusation without noticing how much it was occurring. She said she didn’t count the exact amount, but it’s thousands of dollars.

“It’s come to the point where he gets a new avatar, and he’ll need another avatar,” said Los Angeles style expert Saar. “Here it’s $ 4.99, and there’s $ 7.99, so it looked harmless. Just add it up.”

Children’s Roblox spending shocked so many parents during a pandemic. When its popularity exploded, Its Parents Together, Non-profit family advocacy group, Warned 2.5 million members.

Roblox offers several ways to monitor your spending on the platform. This is explained below. A spokeswoman said the company is still considering additional features for parents and players to manage their purchases.

What you can do

Many parents I’ve talked to say they’re guilty and shameful about loosening game restrictions and surveillance during a pandemic, and wondering how to get their spending back.

Some will decrease naturally. Gilbert said he noticed a slowdown in spending in March after his sons returned to face-to-face school and resumed sports. Pachter said he expects in-game spending growth to slow from the pre-pandemic annual level of about 7% to 10%.

However, there are many things parents can do to prevent their children from making fraudulent purchases through the app store, game console, or the video game itself.

Brady Gilbert says he plays “MLB The Show 21” every day and also plays regular baseball, just like his younger brother.

Apple App Store.. To prevent children from fraudulently purchasing games purchased from the Apple App Store, parents You can establish a passcode Through the family settings screen time on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If the child has his own device, Set up family sharing Then enable Ask to Buy.. You will be notified each time your child purchases a new game or makes an in-game purchase. Just tap “Reject” or “Approve”. You can also use your device or your child’s screen time settings to choose not to allow in-app purchases at all.

Google play.. Apps and games in the Family section of Google Play will automatically request authentication before you buy. For games and apps outside the Family section, Parents can enable authentication.. If you use your Google account on multiple devices, or if you use multiple accounts on one device, you must enable authentication on each device or account. You can also use Google’s Family Link app Manage your child’s in-app purchases Chromebooks and certain Android devices.The· The app also works iOS allows parents with an iPhone to monitor their children’s Google devices.

Microsoft Store..If your child is playing on a Windows 10 device or Xbox console, you can create a family account to request your child To get your approval Whatever you want to buy at the Microsoft Store.You can also Set allowances to limit purchases..

Xbox..Parents can manage in-game spending Through family settings On the Xbox console. Xbox Family settings app This allows parents to control all of their children’s gaming activities from their mobile phones. When Ask to Buy is enabled, the app will notify you if your child wants to make an in-app purchase and your account doesn’t have enough funds. The parents can then decide whether to add more money.

Nintendo..

Nintendo

You are not allowed to store payment information in the accounts of users under the age of 18. Nintendo Switch has a parental control app that allows families to manage their spending.parent You can also limit your purchase Create a Nintendo Account Family group..

Playstation..To Set parental controls PS4 or PS5 requires its own PlayStation Network account and each child’s account. Once you’ve created these accounts, you can set a one-month spending limit on each child’s account.for Family to have On older PS3 models, you can limit your spending with similar settings.

And you can do what Gilbert finally did Password required Enter at checkout.

Roblox.. Spending will be different if your child is logged into Roblox through a web browser instead of the app. No credit card information is stored on this site, so you will need to enter your card each time you purchase Robux.Company use Credit card verification systemTherefore, you may be charged a small (eventually refundable) amount to verify that you are an authorized user of the card.

Fortnite.. Parents can create a 6-digit PIN on the Epic Games website. This must be entered before making a purchase at the Epic Games Store. You can create a PIN Through parental control settings.. Keep in mind that if your child is playing Roblox or “Fortnite” outside of the website, payment controls will depend on the app store or game console settings above.

Write to Julie Jargon julie.jargon@wsj.com

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Tips for stopping your child from using your credit card in video games

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