From Apex Legends to Fortnite and other games in-between – we think it’s
time parents and carers are given the heads up on the now frequent incidents of
young children and teenagers spending parents’ money and using their credit
details on in-game packs and loot boxes.
I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines:
‘My son spent £3,160 in one game’
‘The kids emptied our bank account playing Fifa’
‘Basketball game cost our family £2,000’
‘Our son spent £700 on Clash of Clans’
But it’s not just in the headlines, it’s happening regularly in our homes.
And that’s the crux of it. Not
whether loot boxes are ethical or whether in-game packs are ethical. We don’t think it’s particularly ethical to
peddle to young children but there are plenty of well-paid politicians and
government officials who will take their time debating those issues. While
being well paid to do it. They’ll then fine the gaming companies (to whom it
will be a drop in the ocean) at some point but that makes little difference to
your family or the rest of us.
The Gaming companies such as gaming consoles such as PS4, Xbox & Nintendo
Switch know, just as we do – that young children don’t have the same impulse
control as (some of J) us adults. Until
a certain age they’ll give in to temptation without a second thought. When
old enough to understand, us parents need to teach them right from wrong on
these topics – using mum and dad’s credit card online in the virtual world is
just the same as taking money from their wallet.
And rather than trusting a huge global gaming company to care about your family’s finances it might be safer to put your money on practical preventative measures.
So.. here’s the step by step
guide to ensure your offspring won’t give in to gaming temptations and go
spending your hard earned cash.
- When setting up the
game system activate the Parental controls.
Granted this is easier on some systems and more difficult on
others. It’s something which gaming
console’s companies need to do a better job at, but with some persistence you
can get it up and running.
- Secondly I’ll show
you how to set up the most popular gaming systems ie Xbox, Nintendo Switch and
PS4, also Apple devices and Google Playstore.
As we have an Xbox one in our home I’ll start
off with that and how I set it up for our children.
- Create 2 accounts (One for the child and the second
for the parent) The parent account is
the primary account on the system which handles and has access to the Parental
controls. It also has the ability to
approve any requests for things to be purchased – in our case – Skins for
- Set up a Passkey –
Go to the Systems menu, then follow the pathway
settings/account/sign-in, security and passkey. Select ‘change my sign-in’,
scroll right to ‘customise’ then ‘ask for my passkey to make purchases’.
- You can also remove your payment card details from the
system once it’s set up and running. This
- Important. Don’t give your
Children your Login details or Passkey
- Sign in to your parent or guardian Nintendo Account
- Click Family Group
- Create new account for the child
- Link their account with yours
- Set the Nintendo Account as supervised
- Select each setting that you want to adjust – Restrict
spending in Nintendo eShop – Check the box to disable purchases and automatic
renewal options on Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch AND the official Nintendo website
- Don’t forget to
We’d suggest taking a similar approach to that of Xbox One:
- Create 2 accounts and link the child account to the
adults account. The account which you
create will be linked to your own email address.
- Set a spending limit on the child’s account – when you
create the account the monthly spending limit is set to zero. If you do want your child to be able to make
purchases from the PlayStation store you can set a monthly spending limit. Important to remember that funds DO NOT rollover. Your child can only spend funds already in
the adult account wallet. If the wallet does not have sufficient funds, your
credit/debit card will not be charged, even if the monthly spending limit
should allow the purchase.
- Important. Again, don’t give
your Children your Login details to your adult account.
Apple have got better in recent times with the roll out of screen-time
tools. These give users more control and awareness on the time that they are
spending using their device and what they are accessing. Along with these controls has come better
parental controls. With many Children
using iPhones, iPods and iPads it’s important to ensure you limit the chances
of any unexpected charges.
- Activate screen-time on the device
- Set up a separate Parent passcode
- Go to Content and Privacy Restrictions, activate ‘content
and privacy’, go to iTunes and App Store Purchases and set to ‘don’t allow’.
Google Play Store Purchases
Android devices and tablets are very popular and on most of these
devices the user will be accessing the Google Play Store to download apps and
games. It’s a good idea to follow these
simple steps to prevent accidental purchases.
- Open the Google Play Store on your device.
- Tap the hamburger menu (the three lines) on the left
side of the search bar.
- Scroll down to Settings.
- Select the ‘Require Authentication for Purchases’
option. Ensure the first option, indicating all purchases, is selected.
- Click Save.
Hope these are helpful,
Stay safe, and financially secure,
Wayne Denner is a speaker, author and expert on Online Reputation and Wellbeing. Wayne helps young people protect and improve their digital presence. Visit waynedenner.com for more information.