A 13-year-old girl from Henan province in central China spent approximately $449,500 (equivalent to Rs 52 lakh) on mobile games over a period of four months.
The girl's mother, who goes by Wang, was unaware of the theft until a teacher expressed concerns about the daughter's potential addiction to online gaming.
The young girl admitted to knowing little about money and its origins. She found a debit card at home and connected it to her smartphone, using it to make payments for the online games.
The girl's mother discovered the extent of the spending when she checked her bank balance and found only 0.5 yuan (approximately US$0.07) remaining.
She later found out that her daughter had spent 120,000 yuan ($17,000) on the games, 210,000 yuan on in-game purchases, and 100,000 yuan on games for her classmates.
The girl claimed that she felt compelled to pay for her classmates' games when they asked her to, despite her reluctance.
She was afraid to seek help from her teachers, fearing her parents' reaction. Prior to the teacher's intervention, the mother was unaware of the situation as the daughter had deleted all the transaction data from her smartphone.
This incident sheds light on the issue of smartphone addiction, particularly among young individuals.
A 2022 analysis by McGill University revealed that China has the highest number of smartphone addicts, followed by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
The study involved 34,000 participants between the ages of 15 and 35 from 24 countries, including the United States and Japan.