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More children in Japan steal from their parents to spend on porridge

The reports of Japan National Center for Consumer Affairs have shed light on an alarming trend: the growth of unauthorized spending by Japanese children on online games. Since 2022, this phenomenon has been increasing, exceeding 4,000 complaints, with charges reaching 330,000 yen (more than $2,200) per incident and even rising to millions of yenall without parental consent.


The data collected reveals that during the past year, 4,024 complaints were registered related to “children making payments without permission”, a large part of them linked to online video games. The worrying thing is that this trend continues to rise, since so far in 2024 alone, 3,100 complaints have been received, an alarming number that reflects a growing problem.

This phenomenon not only worries the authorities, but also the parents and guardians of the children involved. That is why Japan’s National Center for Consumer Affairs has issued a warning to young people, urging them to be aware of their online consumption habits and not to share their passwords with third parties.

Addiction to smartphone video games, particularly among high school students and older, has been identified as one of the factors contributing to this problem. A recent study by NTT Docomo has confirmed that this addiction is on the rise, reinforcing the need to urgently address the issue of unauthorized online spending.

In addition to the economic impact on families, unauthorized spending also raises concerns in terms of the emotional and psychological well-being of the children affected. It is essential that measures be taken to protect young Japanese from the risks associated with excessive spending on online games, and it is hoped that authorities and parents will work together to find effective solutions to this growing challenge.

  • «Japan is playing with fire. They need to classify gacha as games of chance (which are illegal in Japan by the way)».
  • «Look, the problem isn’t that gacha isn’t considered a game, it is. The problem is that video games take advantage of a loophole in gambling laws that casinos, arcades, contests, theme parks, etc. have been taking advantage of for decades. As long as real money is not used directly for gambling, it is considered legal. That’s why video games make you buy their local money, and then you use their local money to buy the items».
  • «When any gacha game reaches its end of service, all money spent on it will not be refunded back to the player. Personally, I dipped my toe into the world of gacha gaming by spending a small amount of money on a now-closed game called Valkyrie Crusade, an anime card battle game, and it was no small loss when it ended. For me it was an experiment and an experience. It’s like betting, with the difference that the profits go with the game. This is DEFINITELY going for the whales in the aforementioned games. That’s why I don’t spend my money on those gacha games, because those whales will have wasted all their money, which they could have used for other purposes, such as food, rent, electricity, internet, data storage and other important essentials of life».
  • «You are essentially paying for an experience, not a product. How to pay to go to the pool. If you have the money to spare and you enjoy the experience, there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is the poor who make financial decisions that keep them in poverty. But it’s not my problem either».
  • «Children shouldn’t have a smartphone to begin with and responsible parents wouldn’t educate them to play mobile trash».
  • «I think children shouldn’t even have phones. Radiation from phone calls is somewhat uncharted territory, but it’s already clear that it’s bad for young children and the elderly».
  • «Well… there is something called parental control and such… that if you let your brats play on your device or their own, it blocks them from buying stupid things. Maybe, just maybe, you should activate it?! I didn’t have the luxury of growing up with a smartphone, but that’s not really why I think the way I do. In my opinion, if these children do not understand how money works, they should not be allowed to access it unhindered.».
  • «In fact, in certain circumstances, banks may refuse to return money fraudulently withdrawn from your account, even if they have the culprit on camera. So I wonder how many of these idiot parents are actually getting their money back from mobile games?».
  • «Nothing is ever free. Free-to-play is such a normalized scam that you don’t even realize it anymore».
  • «There is really no reason for gatcha games. Let’s go back to $30 subscription-based services where you pay for everything with a simple flat fee. The rest of the game is left up to the players to decide what they get based on how they play. Now I know someone will object to this because the fear is that players who don’t have money can’t play.».

Fountain: TBS NEWS DIG

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