As quickly as my older daughter began enjoying the web world-building sport Roblox, she started to beg for Robux, the sport’s foreign money, which cost real-world dollars. Having learn multiple stories about how children accidentally-on-purpose spent numerous cash on add-ons like “ultra rare” or “legendary” status virtual pets, I refused to purchase into this scheme. No, honey, I cannot spend my hard-earned American {dollars} on a Queen Bee that may most likely find yourself working at a fast-food restaurant in your adopt-me universe.

This week, I used to be reminded of my continued hard-line stance once I learn Amanda Hess’s pleasant article, “Does a Toddler Need an NFT?” (Spoiler: Most likely not!) From Hess’s piece, I realized about “Zigazoo, an app for kids as younger as 3 that payments itself as ‘the world’s largest social community and NFT platform for youths.’” In case you don’t know what an NFT, bitcoin or the blockchain is, here’s an explainer for you. I can let you know that once I tried to clarify NFTs to my 9-year-old, she stated, “That seems like Pokémon playing cards,” which … isn’t solely flawed?

Zigazoo additionally has an in-app foreign money, referred to as Zigabucks. In response to Hess, apps like this are promoting mother and father the concept that their preliterate youngsters want a spot to specific their creativity and be taught monetary literacy, whereas getting ready themselves to work for giant tech. Or one thing.

In my thoughts, that is simply the newest approach tech firms have tried to separate mother and father from their wallets. I’ve most likely quoted this piece earlier than, as a result of I find it irresistible a lot, however again in 2013, Virginia Heffernan wrote about her 7-year-old son racking up in-app purchases on the sport DragonVale, enabled by the iTunes retailer, Apple’s “infernal riverboat on line casino and meth lab.”

Arguably, spending cash on Robux or Zigabucks isn’t any extra frivolous than spending it on L.O.L. Surprise dolls, which I’ve purchased for my youngsters — I proceed to step on the dolls’ tiny sneakers and removable outfits strewn about my home. However at the least L.O.L. dolls aren’t pretending to show my daughters about something particularly, besides presumably whether or not these earrings go along with these sun shades.

In different information from The Occasions this week: Moderna is requesting emergency use authorization for its Covid vaccine for children under 6, Sharon LaFraniere reviews. David Leonhardt explains why the method of getting a vaccine for the littlest kids approved has been so complicated and irritating. Final week, Matt Richtel went deep on the mental health crisis among American teenagers. Emily Gould talks to folks who have been scarred by the pandemic’s chaos, and have changed their minds about having any extra children.

Lastly, in Opinion, a former Occasions journey columnist, Matt Gross, argues for a extra hands-off approach to parenting. He writes, of his two daughters:

I’m certainly hoping that Sasha and her 9-year-old sister, Sandy, comply with in my metaphysical footsteps, in a technique or one other. Ideally, they’ll develop as much as be polyglot globe-trotters with predilections for spicy meals, subtly funky vogue and making new mates. However so long as they don’t find yourself grasping, egocentric or the chief of a fascist character cult (I’m taking a look at you, Sandy), Jean and I can be glad.

It’s a philosophical method that I endorse, even when it’s simpler to agree with than comply with. To that finish, I advised my older daughter that although I wouldn’t pay for her Robux and suppose shopping for them is form of a nasty deal, if she needs to make use of her allowance to pay for them, she will be able to. To this point she’s most popular to spend it on a personalised water bottle, but when, someday, she will be able to’t resist the attract of a water bottle NFT, I received’t cease her.


Parenting is usually a grind. Let’s have fun the tiny victories.

Now we have been struggling to show our virtually 2-year-old the idea of sharing. My tiny victory lastly got here once I went to alter her soiled diaper and he or she shouted, “No! Daddy’s flip!”

— Carrie Norman, New Orleans


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