‘My son spent £3,160 in one game’

This week we told the story of the family whose children emptied their parents’ bank account buying players in the video game Fifa.

It generated a big debate about whether parental controls are sufficient, how much responsibility lies with mum and dad – and the ethics of encouraging young players to spend money within games and apps.

Following the BBC’s report, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson tweeted calling for “tighter regulation” in gaming, saying there were “considerable fears that gaming is a gateway to gambling”.

Damian Collins, chair of the DCMS select committee, which is currently investigating technology and addiction, told the BBC he believes the issue is “a real problem”.

“I think there should be an obligation for the company to warn people about suspicious activity, like large increases in spending, just as banks warn their customers about unusual transactions,” he said.

Here are some of the stories you shared with us.

My son spent £3,160 in one game

I have a 22 year-old disabled son, who has cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, learning difficulties and the approximate cognitive ability of a seven-year-old child.

He is unable to do any bilateral activities so relies heavily on his iPad and PlayStation for entertainment and educational activities.

He has recently been playing a game on his iPad called Hidden Artifacts which involves finding various items and matching them to the description.

Image copyright Blastworks Ltd

He has been charged £3160.58 between 18 February and 30 May 2019, clearing out his entire savings.

I contacted iTunes, who were extremely helpful but were unable to refund the amount and suggested I contact Blastworks Ltd, the app developer and game provider. [Under European rules, Apple users in the EU can request to cancel an order within 14 days of purchase].

I have phoned and emailed several times but have had no response.

It is extremely distressing that vulnerable people, such as my son, become victims of what is thought to be an educational game.

I have tried tirelessly to recoup his life savings but constantly come up against a brick wall.