Korea is popular for a lot of things: K-pop, K-dramas, and the internet phenomenon called mukbang, or social eating.
But where do things like mukbang usually take place? Live streaming sites and mobile apps.
In fact, live streaming is so popular in South Korea, some have turned it into a profession, raking in more than enough to turn it into a viable source of income. But of course, that wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the amount of viewers the streaming sites reel in.
And with COVID-19 keeping children indoors, they’re most likely to wind up watching these live streams. Some of them might even be spending real money on it.
As Kim, a South Korean dad, found out, money spent on gifting live-streaming talents online can be painfully expensive.
The 40-year-old father in Seoul had been saving up some money for a new home. Things were going fine until 130 million won (US$115,000) mysteriously disappeared from his bank account in August 2020.
Lo and behold, it turns out his daughter had spent it all on ‘diamonds’, which are gifts that can be bought with real world currency on the popular live streaming app Hakuna Live. The daughter had gifted these diamonds to 35 streamers on the app using her mother’s phone, which was always left unlocked.
“My wife always leaves her phone unlocked since she is visually impaired and suffers from brain damage,” says Kim.
In an attempt to retrieve the money he had lost, Kim reached out to all 35 streamers, asking them to return the money. Thankfully, some agreed to refund the poor man. But as it currently stands, 46 million won (US$46,000) still remains unaccounted for.
Kim’s case is just one of hundreds in which Korean parents have had to deal with unauthorized payments made by their kids.
After all, everyone’s stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children are out of school and learning from home. In their free time, it only makes sense to enjoy a live streaming session.
Between January and September this year, 1,587 reports were filed, in which kids were able to make unauthorized payments with their parents’ money. This figure almost doubles that of the 813 reports filed in 2019, according to the Korea Content Dispute Resolution Committee (KCDRC).
But in instances like Kim’s, it can be extremely difficult to request refunds or seek other legal means to retrieve money from unauthorized payments.
“In Kim’s case, we see that his wife allowed their daughter to use her cellphone,” said a member of the Korea Communications Commission. Since no illegal activity took place, no legal action can be taken.
And for streamers caught up in this mess, the law protects them from any platforms that might want to force them to reimburse a payment.
“Although platform operators cannot be fully held accountable for accepting payments from minors, they cannot avoid responsibility for not having any measures such as age limits to prevent children from making huge transactions,” stressed Hwang Yong-suk, a Konkuk University professor.
Has this sort of thing ever happened to you?
Cover image sourced from Yonhap (via Korea Bizwire).
ที่มา : Mashable