A Singaporean mother was shocked to receive a StarHub bill of S$1,480 for the month of June and initially thought the local telco had made a mistake – until she realised her five-year-old daughter had actually spent hefty amounts on in-app purchases on a mobile game.
The child was an avid player of the mobile game ‘Roblox’ that was installed on her iPad. While Roblox is a free-to-play online mobile game, users can pay money to buy in-game currency called “Robux” to make purchases within the game.
The five-year-old girl apparently made over 200 in-app purchases worth $5 to $8 each on her iPad, for items like virtual pets and house decorations. The transactions added up to a whopping S$1,480 over a single month. It wasn’t until her mother received the bill that she realised just how much her daughter had spent on Robux.
Sharing that she was shocked when she received the Starhub bill, Ms Wang told the Chinese daily: “My daughter has no clue what was happening either. She simply clicked the ‘purchase’ button, and the transaction was made successfully.”
Ms Wang, a single mother, said that she thought the iPad was safe for her child to play games on since it did not have a SIM card installed and only connected to her wifi network at home. She also asked how her daughter was able to make the in-app purchases without payment verification.
Asserting that users should be required to enter a verification code to make such in-app purchases, Ms Wang said: “What I can’t figure out is that when I helped my maid buy credits on a mobile app and asked her to call home, she had to scan her face or enter the verification code to make the payment.
“Why did the child not receive any reminder or verification code? I asked the customer service staff of the telecommunications company and Apple, but I still don’t know where the problem is?”
Ms Wang added that she is sharing her experience to raise awareness. Urging parents to better monitor their children’s online spending habits, Ms Wang pointed out that many children don’t know what they are spending on or just how much they are spending.
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