Parents, do you know what video games your kids are playing? Do you know what they're buying? Please pay more attention. For Nintendo.
It happened with the iPhone, costing Apple millions of dollars to pay back people whose kids went overboard with in-app purchases on their parents' iPhones. Now, Nintendo is asking that parents and guardians be careful about leaving Nintendo's eShop unlocked on their consoles for children to access.
In a page on Nintendo Japan's website titled "A sincere request to guardians from Nintendo", Nintendo addresses parental locks on some of the 3DS and Wii U's features — namely, internet browsing, online purchases, and communication with other players.
In the section regarding online payments, a message confirms that cases where children have used their parents' credit cards to buy games online via the Nintendo eShop without their parents' consent have happened.
Most console online shops have a cache that keeps a user's credit card information in memory to save the trouble of having to enter and re-enter the information over and over again with each purchase. This leads to the double-edged sword where a child can go on a shopping spree since the information is already in there and they don't have to ask for it. Generally, commercial consoles have parental lock features to keep children from making unsupervised online purchases, however, it seems not enough people are aware of the existence of such features, hence Nintendo's earnest plea.
The site contains a joint message from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony regarding the existence of parental controls in each of the companies' consoles, reminding us that while these companies may be rivals, they're all working towards the same goal.
Seriously, games and game consoles aren't babysitters.