Last Updated Mar 10, 2010 7:51 PM EST
Play now, pay later!
That's the mantra of a new website designed to let kids use credit to play online games -- without your guidance or permission. The site, called Kwedit (just like the cute way your 4-year-old used to pronounce it), was launched in February.
In response to a hilarious and biting skit on the Colbert Report (see below), Kwedit's management maintains the site is for teenagers and adults. Not grammar schoolers. Not impressionable little tweens. No way. Kwedit's partners require that their users are at least 13 years old! That's plenty old enough to manage a little credit, right?
How do Kwedit's partners know how old users are? They ask them what year they were born, silly. If the potential user plugs in a year that wouldn't make them old enough, they won't let them register.
Of course, they'll give you plenty of chances to change the year of your birth, so if you try again with another year, you can, well, register. It's not like they're going to fingerprint you or ask for a driver's license.
But your child wouldn't do that, right? Kids never lie about their age to play games that a site says are too old for them.
And we know that it's adults using the Kwedit site because it's all about playing those online games that adults love, like FooPets and Puzzle Pirates. (I can't get myself to link to those sites. They make me queasy.)
Better yet, you don't need money or a credit card to spend! You can just give a "Kwedit Promise" and say you'll pay later. That's just the type of thing we adults do (in cartoons). Another option to pay: You can "pass the duck" to get somebody else, like your parents, to pay--once you've finally mentioned that you're spending real money on "virtual" products that can cost hundreds of dollars.
That "pass the duck" moment is a great learning experience, the Kwedit site contends. It gives parents the opportunity to talk about financial responsibility with their kids. As Stephen Colbert describes the theory, it's "the same way digging a shallow grave together is a great opportunity to start a conversation about how murder is wrong."
What happens if you don't pay? Why nothing, really. Contracts are not enforceable on 9-year-olds. Eventually, if you and your parents fail to pay up, they'll just stop letting you play the game.
I found this toxic site by way of Susan Beacham, a kids & money expert who runs Money Savvy Generation. Beacham said she was "apoplectic" about the site, not just because it lets munchkins use credit without supervision; and not just because it supports playing goofy online games like FooPets that guilt you into spending real money to feed fake animals, but because the site has the gall to say that it helps "teach kids about money."
"There is just nothing good about what's happening here," said Beacham.
Colbert believes Kwedit could be the key to solving all the nation's economic woes. After all, consumer spending drives economic growth.
"Instead of just having adults spend money they don't have on things they don't need, now we'll have kids spending money they don't have on products that don't exist."
America. Such a great country.
I'll stop. Sarcasm is just a sideline for me. Watch the master.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word - Kid-Owe|