If somebody asked me, “What kind of parent are you?” idiotic would not be the first word to pop into my head. Unless you asked me one week ago. Last week, as I was reviewing my bank accounts and wrapping up the Christmas budget, I took some time to update the login for my credit card. The balance was higher than I remembered so I reviewed the account details. To my disbelief, there had been exactly $503.88 of charges spread out between Halloween and Thanksgiving on Microsoft and Epic Games.
In September, I had to report a fraud on my pay pal account. It was used on my son’s X-box to pay for his live account. Although I am not a fan of Fortnite, my son is. Moving him halfway across the country and away from his friends left me with some guilt. Through Fortnite on the X-box, B was able to play games and socialize with friends in Maryland, anywhere from Nashville to Dallas on his X-box console.
But, once we decided to stay in San Antonio, I learned how Fortnite screens through X-box were shareable. How to use multiple consoles That means if someone has your account credentials, they could use your account and play on their own console. This, of course, is discouraged and according to Fortnite, cause for shutting down an account forever. When your Fortnite Account is Banned When this happened to B in September, and items were purchased through a saved Paypal account, I immediately reported fraud and didn’t have to do anything further. The account was locked so the consequences of his account sharing were immediate and natural.
Once the account was reopened, it was time to renew B’s monthly X-box live account. It’s not easy to renew an account that has been locked, but B was meticulous, searching for purchase receipts and other proof of account ownership. When my son wants something, as with most ADHDers, he’ll get it.
Hurt but not Giving Up
It costs $10.99 a month to use an X-box live account, billed through Microsoft and Epic Games. As a family, we have been on a financial journey to cut unnecessary costs, especially since I took a break from salaried work this year. But the X-box was something B really loved. Besides choir and running, it’s his only hobby. So I agreed to keep up the payments. Needless to say I was sad and shocked when I found the $500 charges. There are plenty of ways to set parental controls and use pre-paid X-box cards to prevent credit card information from being stored on the console. Here are some other ways to prevent purchases: How to get your kids to Stop Buying Digital Crap on Fortnite
It was a VERY difficult conversation to have with my son about this $500. Luckily, since the purchases were unauthorized and the account is already under investigation, I added the $500 to the previous charges. But, getting my son to admit to this was no walk in the park. He finally came clean, saying he was mad and sad he had to give up so much in Maryland and he really didn’t know how much he was buying. For background, his PC also fell out of the back of our minivan onto the parking lot concrete in a hotel while we waited 21 days for our house to close. Once we finally got moved in and set it up, we found the computer was dead. In his favor, it literally takes .03 seconds to buy on that game. I finally played to see what it was like. It’s very engaging to talk to people while you’re actually playing, but I suck at the game, so, it just made me anxious.
Of course, my son’s X-box is MIA for a month. He’s mad about this, but, hey, life is tough when you spend $500 without asking.
What were doing to improve B’s Pre-teen “my life sucks” life since our move:
- I’ve had more sleepovers with his friends from MD (2 family friends moved to Austin and San Antonio, Texas within the last 2 years).
- We’ve been doing our traditional holiday baking, decorating and visiting light displays here in San Antonio.
- Screentime Lockdown: We ordered a replacement PC for the used on that broke during our journey for $79 on e-bay. Once it arrives and we soup it up for Christmas with a high-quality graphics card, we’ll be keeping much tighter reigns on the screen and PC gaming time for B. Two hours a day for any games, 1 hour for TV or youtube watching (This will not include holiday movies which we usually watch on Sunday nights as a family throughout December).
- I’m convinced that video gaming addiction is a real thing (so is the World Health Organization). And, because my son was spending money and playing more when he was sad, I can see how the game (especially one like Fortnite) can fall into the dopamine reward pattern like any drug, compulsive shopping, eating, or other addictive behavior could.
My holiday gift to you:
I just finished reading an amazing book called Parenting Your Teen in the Age of Anxiety by Dr. Duffy. If you don’t have time to read it or listen on Audible, you could definitely listen to the Tilt Parenting Podcast episode featuring the author to hear the key takeaways.
I hope you all have a fabulous holiday. It’s definitely hard to parent different kids, but I began this blog for parents to find other parents facing similar struggles. Knowing we’re not alone is half the battle.