Children bullied for “wrong” in game clothes

Recently the Swedish national radio, SR, reported that some children are bullied by other children for not possessing the latest in-game clothes, aka “skins”, which alter the visuals of the game character.

Polygon also reported in an extensive article, that the bullying is making children spend money to stop being harassed for being a “default”, someone who has the basic look of the character. In the eyes of the children, the way your characters looks, reflect your in-game skill. Something a more experienced player knows is entirely untrue. A pair of expensive football shoes don’t make you a great football player.

The National Board for Consumer Complaints in Sweden has received at least ten complaints from parents whose children have spent money ranging from €100 to €2000 without the parents’ permission. For parents, it is important to make sure it is not possible for a child to spend money like this, but part of the responsibility also lies in the hands of the developer. It’s our strong opinion that age verification for any in-game purchase should become mandatory for all games which contain micro-transactions.

It’s important that parents, even though they do not play games themselves, talk to their children about in-game cosmetics in general. Games are about playing and having fun together, no matter how you look, and are not supposed to turn into on-line, ever present stores which provide endless transactions of “digital vapor“.