Girl, 13, blows her Chinese family’s life savings spending $64,000 on mobile phone games


Girl, 13, blows her Chinese family’s life savings spending $64,000 on mobile phone games

  • The teenager’s mother, Gong Yiwang, found just seven cents left in her account
  • Schoolgirl deleted chat and transaction records to hide them from her parents

A 13-year-old girl in China managed to spend a staggering $64,000 on mobile phone games in just a few months – wiping out her parents’ life savings without them knowing.

The teenager’s mother, Gong Yiwang, only found out her account had been ransacked after teachers at her daughter’s boarding school phoned to tell her they were worried she was addicted to video games.

When Gong went to check her bank account, she found just seven cents remaining following the girl’s spending spree, which lasted from January to May last year.

‘I never thought a 13-year-old girl could do this,’ she told Chinese TV station Elephant News. ‘I’m in a daze; my head feels like it’s going to explode.’

The girl, who has not been named, managed to empty the account and conceal the payments, deleting chat and transaction records to hide them from her parents.

A 13-year-old girl in China managed to spend a staggering $64,000 on mobile phone games in just a few months (stock image)

A 13-year-old girl in China managed to spend a staggering $64,000 on mobile phone games in just a few months (stock image)

Not only did Gong’s daughter spend her parents’ money on games for herself, she also forked out for in-game purchases for her friends.

The young girl was devastated when her story was exposed, telling Elephant News that she was pestered by her schoolmates to send them money. 

‘If I didn’t send it to them, they would bother me all day. If I told the teacher, I was afraid that the teacher would tell my parents and that my parents would be angry,’ she said through tears.

The spendthrift managed to rack up a £16,800 bill for game accounts, £30,000 bill for in-game purchases, and sent money to ten of her classmates – bringing the total cost to a reported £68,000.

The story of the unbelievable months-long spending spree went viral on Chinese social media, racking up 140 million views on Weibo, Insider reports.

The Chinese government considers internet addiction a clinical disorder and for years has worked to reduce gaming, which it previously described as ‘spiritual opium’.

New regulations in China limit children's amount of online gaming to just three hours a week, down from 1.5 hours a day

In 2021, Chinese authorities restricted minors from playing online games on weekdays (file image)

Last year, the regulatory body the China Game Industry Group Committee claimed to have successfully curbed gaming addiction among young people through a series of strict laws around the sector. 

In 2021, Chinese authorities restricted minors from playing online games – cutting their daily allowance to just an hour a day and only on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. 

As far back as 2008, the Chinese Ministry of Health began viewing internet addiction as a clinical disorder, marked by staying online for more than six hours a day and having adverse reactions to not being online.

A 2018 report published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found nearly 12 percent of Chinese university students had Internet Addiction Disorder, which it called an impulse control disorder, ‘similar to eating disorders, pathological gambling… and other addictions.’

According to the China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, 14 percent of Chinese minors, including 33 million of those under the age of 16, are obsessed with the Internet. 



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