GUWAHATI: A 12-year-old Assam boy’s addiction to online gaming cost his parents dear.
The child, a student of Class 7, wasted his father’s hard-earned Rs 19 lakh – first, by buying virtual guns and cars to play a game and then, after getting trapped by a 20-year-old that he had met on the gaming platform and befriended with.
The incident in Upper Assam came to light during a police investigation. The minor’s father works in a high position at a private company.
The police said the child used his mother’s mobile phone for his online classes but he spent a lot of time playing the Battle Ground Mobile India or BGMI, an online game.
“He had come across one Nipuraj Gogoi (20) and two others, both aged 16, on the gaming platform. Gogoi took the boy into confidence and got access to his mother’s bank account by collecting her WhatsApp and UPI numbers,” inspector Loknath Basumatary, who is investigating the case, told The New Indian Express.
Initially, the accused helped the child buy virtual guns and other accessories to win his confidence. Later, the minor bought two high-end smartphones, including an iPhone, with help from the accused.
The police officer said the boy’s parents got suspicious when they had seen him possessing the two costly phones. Soon, they discovered the disappearance of around Rs 19 lakh from the woman’s ICICI bank account.
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“Gogoi had regularly transferred money from this account. He would collect the OTP (one-time-password) of every transaction from the boy and direct him to delete it as well as other bank transaction-related messages to make sure the parents don’t get a whiff of it,” Basumatary said.
He said the boy had also helped the two other minors buy the guns and the accessories to play the game. The online transactions continued from August 4 to September 6 this year.
The police arrested Gogoi and the three minors. Gogoi was produced in a local court which sent him to judicial custody. The minors were produced before the Juvenile Justice Board. It remanded them to the custody of their guardians.
“We might seek the remand of the accused (Gogoi), if required. We are investigating where all the money was transferred and if there are other people involved,” Basumatary said.
He advised parents to constantly monitor the activities of their children, especially during this pandemic when children use smartphones for online classes.
“In this case, the boy’s parents are to be blamed. If they had kept an eye on him regularly, they could have detected his activities earlier. The incident should serve as a lesson for all parents,” the police officer added.