An U.K. mother is blaming Microsoft for the fact that her 11-year-old son rang up a £1000 bill on her debit card over a six-month stretch on Xbox Live.
Would you entrust an online account to your young child, probably not?
When 11-year-old Brendan Jordan was let loose on Xbox Live, the youngster went on a spending spree that ultimately landed a bill of £1082 ($1739) on his mother’s debit card. But his mother, Dawn, doesn’t blame her son for the hefty charges. She blames Microsoft.
“When I put my card details in 18 months ago I thought it was just for his membership to play online with his friends,” she said. “I work two jobs just to look after my family and pay the bills so I cannot afford all these extortionate charges. A thousand pounds isn’t that much to people like Bill Gates, but for a single mum it is a lot of money that I don’t have.”
“I haven’t punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won’t do it again,” she added. “It is ridiculous to allow someone of his age to make payments without any checks being done.”
She states that the youngster started to cry when she explained to him how much money he’d blown through, after which he unplugged his Xbox and said he didn’t want it anymore. She also said she wants her experience to serve as a warning to other parents.
“When he is in gaming mode he can’t be thinking about the money. You can’t put all that responsibility on a young boy,” she added. “It is impossible to monitor everything your children do. These companies should take some responsibility. They take advantage of vulnerable people.”
Now let me just stop things here and possibly call shenanigans on this tale of online woe. Most banks send out these useless papery things called statements, typically once a month or so.
Would you not notice the recurring charges going through to Microsoft and start to put two and two together, especially if you were a struggling single mother who needs every penny she can get.
In a statement to the Daily Mail a company rep made the following statement “Microsoft’s goal is to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources to manage their children’s gaming and entertainment experiences so that they can play in ways that are safer, healthy and more balanced. ”
“To accomplish this, we’ve built-in parental controls in every Xbox 360, work closely with retailers and recently launched the Play Smart, Play Safe website as an online resource for families. It should also be noted that LIVE accounts registered for children’s use have online activity automatically defaulted to off, these can be enabled by the parent should they wish in the Family Settings section.”
So what we really seem to have is a Mum who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to what her young soon was doing online, with her card details no less. Neither could she be bothered to keep an eye on her finances until he had managed to spend over a grand.
Seems to me like someone is on the look out for a nice cash payment to settle little Brendan’s gaming bill and to keep paying that wonderful virtual nanny that has been raising him on her behalf.