“Can you buy me more Robux?” says one of my kids every month.
In case you don’t know, Robux is a currency used in the game Roblox. As far as I understand, my kids are mostly using their Robux to upgrade their avatars (on-screen characters,) and maybe to play certain upgraded games. Whatever they’re using them for, the kids seem to need more Robux every month or so. And since we’re the bank where they keep their money, we have to be involved in the transaction.
There is no way Mr. December and I would choose to spend our money this way; but we decided long ago that if our kids have their own money (from birthday and Chanukah gifts, mostly,) they get to decide how to spend it. It’s better for them to learn about money and value and utility now while the stakes are low; when you’re a kid, being flat broke just means being without spending money (as opposed to lacking money for food and rent.) We’ve accepted that they’re going to spend some of their money on things that we think are foolish: that’s part of the learning experience.
There are still times when we get the urge to say, “No, we won’t let you buy that.” There are things we view as a colossal waste of money, and Robux is one of them. But if our philosophy is that they have to be able to choose what to do with their own money, then we have to stand back. That does not mean that we won’t give them our opinion, though.
“Seriously? That’s a lot of money to spend on a video game that you might not even like anymore in two weeks.”
“Do you feel like that’s worth it?”
“That’s a lot of money. Abba has to work for an hour to earn that much.”
“Why don’t you think about it for a few days and then if you still want it, you can buy it.”
That last one was Mr. December, this morning, trying to impose a cooling-off period on R. I thought that was a pretty good strategy: it’s still her money and he’s not saying no, just suggesting that she think about it.
When I think about it, though, it’s not such an unreasonable spend. How different is her buying Robux from her going to a movie with her friends and buying popcorn too? That’s $20 (including tax) for under two hours of entertainment; she’ll certainly get a better hourly rate for the Robux, considering how many hours (SO many hours) she spends playing Roblox. If I think a movie with friends is a reasonable expenditure, why not Roblox with friends—especially when it’s the only way she can even “see” her friends these days?