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1 Out Of 10 Children Go Into Debt Over Loot Boxes, Says Study

Just when you found information about how dangerous loot boxes can be couldn’t get any worse, a new study from the UK Royal Society for Public Health claims that one in 10 kids will go into debt thanks to the psychologically manipulative game additives. According to a new study posted on the RSPH website, around 11% of young gamers surveyed had used their parents’ credit or debit card to fund their loot box purchases. A similar 9% borrowed money they couldn’t repay to spend on loot boxes.

As Duncan Stephenson, Chair of the GHA and Deputy Chief Executive of RSPH, stated, “While this is a small survey of gamers, our research suggests that the drive to play games containing loot boxes is encouraging many to beg, borrow and steal – loot boxes really are the gift that keeps on taking.” The exact number of participants isn’t stated, but that’s still a very damning figure.

The final point is something I’d like to see elaborated on. According to the RSPH, three of the participants had amassed so much debt, their parents needed to remortgage their homes to cover the costs. That sounds fairly illegal if you ask me.

Geraldine Bedell, executive editor for Parent Zone, said, “Parent Zone strongly backs the GHA’s call for loot boxes to be classified as gambling. Our research, like theirs, points to the exploitation of children by gambling-like mechanisms in online games, and the use of psychological techniques drawn from gambling. Risks are being taken with the future of young people, who are being taught to gamble.”

This report comes out at a time when many people are stuck at home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. With pressures mounting from every angle, it makes a lot of sense that kids are falling prey to microtransactions and loot boxes. This year, alone, loot boxes and microtransactions earned Activision Blizzard around $1 billion in revenue. It’s not hard to imagine some of that came from children.

What comes of this data will be hard to tell, but hopefully, it leads to some better regulations on these in-game purchases.

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