Nintendo has always had the market on family-friendly games and practices. While the Japanese gaming giant has its share of faults, never let it be said that they aren’t looking out for you, especially around the holidays.
This question goes out to all those Nintendo gamers with kids; are you paying attention to what they’re playing with on the console? While there is nothing harmful about letting your son or daughter run amok in a good session of Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart 8, you may want to ensure that their access to the Nintendo eShop is good and restricted.
Nintendo clearly doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of Apple, as the tech titan infamously had to refund a staggering $32.5 million earlier this year to parents whose children had a field day with in-app purchases without their consent. Nintendo Japan’s website, on a page titled “A sincere request to guardians from Nintendo”, advised parents to take advantage of parental locks available on the 3DS and Wii-U. In particular, locks that restrict access to internet browsers, online purchases and communication with other players.
In the “Online Payments” section, Nintendo confirmed that there have been cases of children using their parents’ credit cards on the Nintendo eShop to download games without their parents’ consent.
Most online console stores have a data cache that enables “auto-fill in” to save regular users the trouble of having to manually type in all of their information every time they want to access the store and purchase things. This serves as a double-edged sword as it also enables kids to stumble their way into the store and buy things with the simple push of a few buttons, all without the knowledge or permission of their parents.
While most consoles have parental locks to prevent children from going on unauthorized shopping sprees, Nintendo is concerned that not enough parents are aware of such locks or aren’t taking advantage of them if they are.
So, parents take heed this Christmas. Don’t leave your Wii-U sitting around unlocked with the eShop page up and your credit card information handily saved and ready to be used. Otherwise, your game-loving youngsters may treat themselves to their own Christmas presents.