How a 13-Year-Old Girl’s Gaming Habit Wiped Out Her Family’s Savings

A recent incident in China has shed light on the alarming consequences of online gaming addiction among young individuals. A 13-year-old girl from Henan province managed to spend a staggering amount of 449,500 yuan within a mere four months, leading to the depletion of her family’s savings. This incident has sparked a national conversation about the risks associated with excessive gaming and raised questions about parental responsibility and the need for intervention.

The girl’s excessive phone usage during school caught the attention of her concerned teacher, who suspected an addiction to pay-to-play online games. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, the teacher approached the girl’s mother, urging her to investigate further. Upon checking her bank account, the mother was shocked to find only 0.5 yuan remaining, uncovering the extent of her daughter’s spending spree.

In a heart-wrenching video that went viral in China, the mother tearfully displayed pages of bank statements showing the exorbitant payments made for mobile games. When confronted by her father, the girl confessed to spending 120,000 yuan on purchasing games and an additional 210,000 yuan on in-game purchases. Moreover, she had also spent 100,000 yuan on buying games for her classmates, totalling a jaw-dropping amount.

The girl admitted to having little knowledge about money and its value. She stumbled upon her mother’s debit card at home and connected it to her smartphone, oblivious to the financial consequences of her actions. Surprisingly, her mother had shared the card’s password with her, assuming it would be useful in emergencies when they were not around. To further complicate matters, the girl deleted all mobile game transaction records from her smartphone.

The story quickly gained traction on Chinese social media platforms, generating a range of reactions. Netizens expressed divided opinions on who should bear responsibility for the incident. Some believed that at 13 years old, the girl should be aware of her actions, while others criticized the parents for not monitoring their child’s activities closely enough.

This incident highlights a prevalent problem of smartphone addiction, particularly in China. A 2022 analysis by McGill University revealed that China has the highest number of smartphone addicts, followed by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. Such addictions can have severe consequences, not only on individuals but also on their families, as seen in this unfortunate case.