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DS (13) and unauthorised spending...

(41 Posts)
superdoodle Sat 01-Nov-14 11:51:06

Don't want to drip feed but I'll try to keep it brief.

DS has ASD and a true love of online games, particularly those involving tanks confused. Tanks aren't really my thing but each one to their own.

The problem is that in the first 3 months of owning his Smartphone, he ran up £700 of unauthorised purchases, mainly on tank upgrades and missile launchers. shock

DS was read the riot act and had to pay the money back from a combination of his savings, doing extra chores etc. over a period of 9 months. I thought that the lesson had been learnt.

Unfortunately it seems not...after giving him Xbox live access (with a link to my credit card for subscription) he has already racked up £70 of spending in 6 weeks. I'd sat him down and explained very clearly that I was trusting him to be responsible and that nothing was to be purchased without consulting with me first.

I'm furious! I've now banned him from the Xbox etc until Xmas and swapped his Smartphone for a handset made in circa 1980 with no internet access.

What more can I do to make him learn that he is actually stealing from me? I don't want to blow this out of all proportion but I feel that he has let me down really badly. I don't want to raise a tank mad degenerate with no concept of truth and honesty. Has anyone had a similar experience or any ideas please?

CaptainAnkles Sat 01-Nov-14 11:55:35

Can't you change passwords or PIN protect your accounts? There's no way I'd allow my 12yo unlimited access to apps or in game purchases, it's far too tempting for them to think 'oh, it's only a couple of pounds' and before you know it, all those pounds have mounted up to a huge bill.

superdoodle Sat 01-Nov-14 11:57:15

Hi Captain

Yes that's true I could do that. I suppose I was thinking more about how to teach DS that he can't simply buy something because he wants it, when he's spending someone else's money!

MrsPresley Sat 01-Nov-14 11:58:47

First thing to do is is remove your card details from all devices!

I'd also be checking my bank account daily, how did you not notice for 3 months?

Sorry I don't really have any advice, other than he wouldn't be getting his phone/Xbox for a very long time and never with any card details on it!

If you really must leave card details attached, then change your password and don't let him know what it is.

CaptainAnkles Sat 01-Nov-14 12:00:08

It is important that he learns that he is spending YOUR money, yes, but he's had two chances and it hasn't sunk in. I think after that there should be a consequence, that he now has to ask you to put in a password every time he wants to buy something so you can closely monitor his spending. You could then reassess the situation after a few months and try again?

AesSedai Sat 01-Nov-14 12:29:17

He's just doing what comes naturally to a young person with ASD.

You, on the other hand, can't be forgiven for linking his xbox to your Credit Card. Now that IS stupid.

bloodyteenagers Sat 01-Nov-14 12:37:56

You teach him by doing what the majority of us do. Don't link your card.
Its a hard thing to grasp that virtual payments involve real money.

superdoodle Sat 01-Nov-14 12:49:46

I do understand that it's tempting and all are you saying that DS getting the link between virtual life and a real bank account will just come with age?

Perhaps I'm being a bit dim but what I'm trying to do is find the best way to get DS to learn the lesson about truth and honesty etc...

MrsCK Sat 01-Nov-14 14:55:58

The trouble is it is SO easy to spend online and on phones when in game mode. He will be completely absorbed in the game and to just click a button to upgrade or whatever won't sink in that it is real money he is spending. regardless of what message boxes come up.

I would change your password too and encourage your ds to ask you every time he wants a purchase. jot it down and add it up over a period of time say a weekend. then show him the physical money. He probably won't realise how much a weekend of spending equates to when he is in game mode.

CoolCat2014 Sat 01-Nov-14 16:28:22

To be fair I think the fault lies with the companies that make these games - it's far too easy to spend real money without a child realising it. I personally cut him a little slack (though still make it clear) and then disable purchases on the phone & password protect, and do likewise on the Xbox - though I'm not sure how that's done!

There have been successful claims to get money back - might be worth looking into?

Floggingmolly Sat 01-Nov-14 16:31:10

Why did you provide a link to your credit card? If he has learnt nothing from the last escapade; it would seem you haven't either...

bigTillyMint Sat 01-Nov-14 16:35:03

I think that if he has ASD he will need extra support with learning that this is stealing. You should make sure you change your passwords/do whatever to stop him taking your money and he needs to learn to ASK if he would like to buy something, because until he realises that it is YOUR money through having to ask, he is not going to get that it is stealing to just spend it, IYSWIM.

WipsGlitter Sat 01-Nov-14 16:35:48

I agree you were mad to even contemplate having a card attached. I think he's maybe not ready to learn these lessons.

bigTillyMint Sat 01-Nov-14 16:36:14

And FWIW, my BFF's son who does not have any SN's was doing this too until they made sure he could not access their money. They all need help to learn!

CaptainAnkles Sat 01-Nov-14 16:37:43

With the first huge bill, did you look into explaining it to Apple or whoever? Because they do sometimes cancel debts run up by children. The X Box credit card debt I'm not sure about.

Floggingmolly Sat 01-Nov-14 16:41:57

Oh, give over, Captain hmm The op enabled her son to run up these bills; there's no reason in the world to assume she's not liable to pay it back.

ChippingInAutumnLover Sat 01-Nov-14 16:42:45

I honestly think you are expecting too much, that's a LOT of self control to ask of a teen, let alone one with ASD.

CaptainAnkles Sat 01-Nov-14 16:44:49

I'm not saying they shouldn't have to pay it back, flogging, but you do hear about bills of hundreds of pounds being run up by kids and they get written off when parents haven't realised what their children have been doing.

pilates Sat 01-Nov-14 16:47:56

Firstly, I would be phoning the company up and explaining your son's special needs and secondly deleting your credit card details from all gadgets.

bloodyteenagers Sat 01-Nov-14 18:25:04

The link between virtual and real money may never come. Some adults still fail to grasp this concept.

No I would not as suggested by some be contacting the company to get charges back. Why should they? It is something that has been publicised for several years now, discussed in papers, on sites such as here. What can happen if you link you card to your child's account. It is not the companies fault, it is down to parent/carers not researching risks beforehand and taking steps to ensure this does not happen. It is one of the reasons why some companies do not require card details to open accounts, but some just see card details and input without reading anything else, like putting in name and address and you do not need card details. Anyway I digress.

Op, your issues are that your child has no link between real and virtual money, and it was believed that a riot act was enough. Was it explained, several times, in terms suitable to him that the xbox is the same as the phone, these purchases cost you money? The suggestion on here about writing it all down and showing him in real life is a good one, but of course only if he has an understanding of money. If not you have to go back to basics.

You said he lied. Did he lie, or just didn't mention the purchases? If he didn't mention the purchases, and you didnt mention them to him for a period of time, then he possibly believed that it wasn't real money.

The stealing. For him to understand as with anyone, they need to understand the basics. they need to understand the difference between borrowing and stealing. One method I have used is to take something of child's and then have an open discussion about this and the differences. It won't be a one time conversation. When I had this discussion with my sn child, it took about a year.

GemmaPuddledDuck Sat 01-Nov-14 18:50:43

Those who say credit cards should not be linked to DC accounts, at what point do they learn about spending online?

lljkk Sat 01-Nov-14 19:04:16

When it's their own credit card, I dare say.
I dunno, DS accidentally purchased game upgrades didn't realise he was doing it (age 14, no ASD).
Sometimes I think "do things for an easy life", when does OP's DS need to learn this lesson? In last 6 months before he's old enough for own credit card I suppose, not before.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 01-Nov-14 19:06:42

You can't "accidentally" purchase upgrades!

lljkk Sat 01-Nov-14 19:13:22

I believe my son when he says he didn't know; I could tell genuine surprise & horror.
Besides, if it was deliberate he would have spent far more. grin

bloodyteenagers Sat 01-Nov-14 19:18:05

When they have their own debit cards and can link their own card to their account. You have to financially look after yourself, learn about what you are doing linking bank details, how to set passwords, how to set them so they lock instantly, learn how not to set card details, and if you do link cards, check emails (which all phone and gaming companies email a receipt) and check your on-line banking.

The devices I do have my card in, to purchase anything you need a password. This is only known to me. It is set to lock instantly, none of this staying open for however long rubbish. The devices that are the dc's, none of my details are there. Either it's nothing or with the older dc's they have their own card details, and locked as above. If they want to waste all their own cash, that's their problem. But again, they have been educated how to do this to protect themselves.

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