Updated: Oct 10
Imagine going to pay off your credit card at the end of the month and seeing a credit card charge of over $300 dollars. You panic. You assume that your card information has been hacked from some stranger across the globe.
You do some digging, and quickly find out that the charges were for a video game that your child is obsessed over.
You add the pieces to the puzzle together quickly.
It dawns upon you... it was your child that used your card without permission.
A Tik Tok user named @ksmashipper posted on Tik Tok about her experience with the exact same dilemma (CAUTION: in her video there is an upset parent using expletives).
Her son had used her card to purchase around 50,000 "vbucks" for the game Fortnite.
That is around $350... gone in the blink of an eye.
If you have had this issue, you are not alone.
In a study produced by lendingtree, they found that around 28% of kids spent money on online games without permission. Other online expenses for the card included ordering food, streaming services, clothes and toys.
The average spend?
This type of spending is not limited to younger children maybe 8 or 9 as this study included kids of up to 18 years of age.
Teens do this too.
If you are one of the thousands of parents dealing with the same issue of unauthorized online purchases take some steps to prevent these situations.
Here are 3 tips to prevent your kid from misusing a credit card online.
1. Use Passwords for Online Purchases
Sometimes accounts will give you the option to not enter a password online. Always keep the password option kept on, especially for devices that your child uses.
It might be tempting to give your child your online password. I would recommend steering clear of doing that. There are simply too many scenarios that could go very wrong when your kid has full access and control.
While using passwords may be a hassle, and your kids may ask you many different times for it to download the million apps they want, it might be worth the trouble that you can avoid with unauthorized purchases and other problems like downloading unauthorized apps.
2. Protect Your Card Information
Thinking of giving your teen the credit card to pay for their meal at McDonalds? Maybe think twice if they have had unauthorized purchases in the past. Teens are smart, and they know they don't need the card to make the purchases.
All they need is a picture of the card.
How long does this take? Maybe 5 seconds at the most.
Think carefully about giving your card to your child or teen who has had a history of unauthorized charges. You might even consider placing your wallet in a safe place while you sleep. It isn't unheard of that a kid sneaks up in the middle of the night and gets the card information while parents are sleeping.
Do what you need to do to protect your card information.
3. Talk With Your Child
Begin with the end in mind. Talk with your child before this type of event occurs. Let them know that if they want/need to make purchases online, they should talk with you first. Let them know that any unauthorized purchases will be followed with consequences and what they can expect. Relate the punishment back to the crime. So if the crime was completed on electronics, consider taking them away for a while or uninstalling the game that the purchases were made on.
If your child has already made an unauthorized purchase, check out my 4 Tips on Confronting Your Kid's Unauthorized Online Purchases.
The new trend of making unauthorized purchases on parents' credit cards will continue to happen. It is inevitable. There are simply too many fun and tempting things online for kids to purchase. Approaching your kid and talking with them about the issue will help prevent this issue from happening.
By using these tips, you will help protect yourself, and also prevent your child from making future unauthorized purchases online.
Is your kid addicted to gaming? Are they overly irritable when they aren't facing a screen?
Your child may be suffering from a gaming addiction.
If you live in Bentonville, Arkansas and need help with your child's gaming addiction, or mental health concerns such as anger, anxiety, or depression, consider scheduling a counseling appointment with a counselor today.
The best part? Try your first counseling session for free.