While I have been keeping an eye on the action, I have largely let my husband manage our son’s online gaming, including allowing him to use his real money to buy crowns within the game, which can then be used to buy virtual things including pets, spell upgrades, new wizard robes and access to special areas.
Little did I realize how much real money he was spending until recently when it was revealed to me that he had been allowed to spend $60 on crowns. $60 which was, it turns out, in addition to money he had already spent. If I had to guess, and I have to because there is no way I want to know how much he actually spent, I would say my son has spent $100 on Wizard 101.
With my husband’s participation.
Now if you listen to the show you will know that my husband is . . . economically conscientious. Since the day we bought our first Sandra Boynton book, a purchase my husband still believes was not a good buy based on a cost-per-word basis, he has tried to reign in our spendy ways.
So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I realized that the purchases of crowns was not done with a stolen credit card, but instead with my husband’s HELP.
His logic was that if he gave Anders enough crowns to buy “whatever he needed to finish the game” then our son would be able to manage the use of these crowns and not need to buy any more.
I’ll wait a minute while you recover from the laughter.
So now my son has 6 fancy wizard cloaks, 10 dragons and other little virtual critters, countless other virtual items, 36 crowns and a killer case of buyers remorse. It seems the only magic he really learned was how quickly he could make $100 disappear.
While I’m tempted to allow our son to continue to wallow – he’s been obsessed with purchases that might have been for nearly two weeks – my husband and I have come up with a strategy for allowing him to “earn back” the money he spent on Wizard 101. This decision was made, in part, because I’m still so gobsmacked that my husband allowed the purchase to be made in the first place, and think it’s probably a good lesson for all of us.
To earn back the credits, Anders will need to:
a) Sell back anything he can including cloaks, critters and other virtual purchases. For each 100 crowns he collects back he will earn real money. Additional money can be earned through time spent away from Wizard 101 (or any game) and by helping out around the house or reading.
b) He will not be allowed to spend any more crowns, and instead will be forced the play the game using only the items he gained without purchasing.
c) He won’t be playing alone. For the foreseeable future his father or I will be sitting next time him, helping him identify the places he may have spent crowns without knowing it.
Anyone want to buy a dragon?