The British organization which researches forms of online gaming addiction and combats it, published a grim report. The study was to find out the impact of loot boxes on the psyche of children. It turned out that one in six children had stolen money from their parents at least once to buy loot boxes.
The study was based on a survey of a group of playing children between the ages of 11 and 16, and 23% of them admitted to buying loot boxes on a regular basis. There’s more to come. It turns out that 15% had at least once stolen money from their parents to buy loot boxes, 11% had used their parents’ bank cards without their parents’ knowledge, and 9% had borrowed money from adults. That said, three of the families have a common problem: parents had to pawn their homes (!) to pay for the containers their children bought with stolen money. This is equal to the situations in best online gambling for real money.
The children themselves believe that lootboxes with random contents worsen the gaming experience, but it’s hard to turn them down, because you can get an advantage that way. Because of the small possibility of dropping items, children are constantly angry and frustrated, and the visual and sound effects “make the process exciting” – that is, they cause an addictive effect by stimulating the senses before the loot falls out. Similar effects can be observed in online games like baccarat card game online.
Sure, a survey is not the most accurate research methodology, and not every child will admit to stealing money from adults. Thus, the real numbers may be even higher.
Of course, the game makers themselves deny that the situation with Loot Boxes is unhealthy, and that players are “addicted” to it all. And why wouldn’t they deny it, because they make millions by making people pay for these games and accessories?
You can have a completely unequivocal attitude to this whole story. For example, you can explain to your son or daughter that you would be willing to pay for a subscription to Sony Playstation Plus, GamePass or any other service which provides to you at least something in return. You can also say that you are willing to buy some new games (especially if it’s something educational), but that you are strongly against your child spending your or his/her own money to buy virtual stuff – skins, lootboxes, and so on. Laying down those ground rules for online gaming could help a lot!
How do you feel about it? Do you think it’s acceptable for a child to get hooked on buying lootboxes? Let us know in the comments below.