A 13-year-old girl in China wiped out her family's life savings equivalent to $64k on mobile game transactions without their parents' knowledge.
According to Elephant News–a local TV channel in the Henan province, Gong Yiwang was contacted by her daughter's boarding school teacher who was concerned about the young student's addiction to pay-to-play mobile games.
Yiwang immediately checked her bank account and was dismayed to discover it only had a balance of seven cents.
It turns out from January to May, her daughter spent the account's balance on game accounts and in-game purchases.
Yiwang told the media outlet:
"I never thought a 13-year-old girl could do this."
"I'm in a daze; my head feels like it's going to explode."
The minds of some Twitter users were also blown while others found the inclination to spend money on video games relatable.
The teenager admitted to Elephant News she had linked her mother's debit card to her phone and remembered the account password from when her mother gave her the information so she could purchase something.
The daughter said she had no idea how much she was spending.
Her classmates also bullied her into giving them money after noticing her spending habits.
The daughter said:
"If I didn't send it to them, they would bother me all day."
"If I told the teacher, I was afraid that the teacher would tell my parents and that my parents would be angry."
To keep the transactions secret, she also deleted the chat and transaction history from her phone.
Yiwang said she reached out to several payment platforms requesting refunds but has yet to recoup the total losses.
The viral news was an indication of a huge gaming addiction problem prevalent among the youth in China. In response, the government has banned children from playing video games for more than three hours a week since August 2021.