A 12-year-old, British boy recently racked up a tab around $1,400 by playing Farmville on Facebook. The game is played by millions of players monthly. His mother is asking both Facebook and Farmville developer, Zynga, to take part of the responsibility for a child with a past history of addictive behavior. “When I asked him why he did it he said that they had brought out ‘good stuff that I wanted,’ ” the mother, who asked not to be named, told The Guardian. The child has a history of racking up a big cell phone bill that he could not pay.
What is the line between watching what your kids are doing and corporate responsibility? Should online game manufacturers be responsible? The fact is that kids under 13 should not be on Facebook according to their rules. Sources recommend having a computer in an area where kids can be monitored online. Granted, kids will be kids and sneak to do things. If there is a will there will be a way. This is an opportunity for this mother to address her son’s overspending and the real-world implications of his actions. It’s about showing the true value of money. History has shown he clearly does not understand this principle. It’s a parent’s job to keep underage children off of sites that clearly state they have an age restriction. There are other options a child his age can use to interact socially that are more appropriate.