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South Korean child spends US$115,000 on gifts for live-streaming stars

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Nov 06, 2020 1:51 am

Parents of an 11-year-old Korean girl were shocked after finding out that 130 million won (~US$115,000) was withdrawn from their bank account—but it wasn't fraud, it turns out that their daughter spent it on gifts on a live-streaming app.

The girl used her mother's smartphone to purchase "diamonds" or in-app credits to give to 35 streaming users in an app called Hakuna Live. Hakuna Live is a Japanese interactive live-streaming app where users can share livestreamed video and interact with fans, who can also support streamers by sending "diamonds," their online currency.

In an interview with CBS, the dad said, "My wife always leaves her phone unlocked since she is visually impaired and suffers from brain damage." He also shared that the couple reached out to the 35 streamers to ask for reimbursement. Several of them agreed to refund the money, but some 46 million won (US$40,000) will not be recovered.

The family was supposed to use this money to save up for a new house.

This isn't the first time this has happened to parents. In another incident, a boy spent 17 million won in a livestreaming app using her father's credit card.

According to The Korea Times, Korea Content Dispute Resolution Committee's (KCDRC) data show that "a total of 1,587 reports were filed regarding unauthorized online purchases made by minors between January and September this year." Depending on the case, some are given refunds or legal remedies.

"In Kim's case, we see that his wife allowed their daughter to use her cellphone," said an official at the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), adding that there is no legal action that can be taken as nothing illegal took place.

Platform operators like Hakuna Live cannot ask their streamers to refund the gifts nor can the card companies cancel payments made by another family member of the card holder.

"Although platform operators cannot be fully held accountable for accepting payments from minors, they can't avoid responsibility for not having any measures such as age limits to prevent children from making huge transactions," said Hwang Yong-suk, a professor of media communications at Konkuk university.

Photo from Shutterstock