The ADHD money diaries: Micro transactions

The ADHD money diaries: Micro transactions
Are micro-transactions ethical when introduced to the ADHD mind?

I was reading the r/ADHD subreddit recently and came across a post that I found shocking in not just the content but also how relatable it was to me. I can see myself as being a hop, skip and a jump from experiencing what this person has.

The impact of micro-transactions

This particular person in question had downloaded a fairly innocuous online puzzle came. This particular game has a series of games in what could be called a family of puzzle games with differing 'themes' i.e. one was farming, one is gardening etc.

Over the course of the month in question, he went from spending the odd 0.99p to complete a certain section of a game to spending money on several games at once, unable to put the game down for even sleep.

The ultimate shame and anger at himself is apparent but is he really to blame?

Gamification hits ADHD different

App features that are designed to keep the general population online, engaged and spending can be kryptonite to those that suffer with ADHD. It hooks into our subconscious craving for dopamine and can have pretty tragic consequences as shown above.

Should ADHD sufferers stay away from gaming apps?

How much of the in app purchase industries income relies on the heightened spending of ADHD users compared to the general population?

Do apps have a responsibility to check?

Much like gambling apps check where or not the user is over 18 years of age, perhaps gaming apps should offer the option of an experienced tailored to the ADHD mind that perhaps reduces the trigger points associated with bad decision making.


In the user above's case, it took him to set a password for every purchase made on his phone to quite literally stop himself. There has to be a better way of managing the danger of impulse spending via creeping micro-transactions.

I think at least some of the responsibility lays with app developers. We need to stop this creeping trend towards more and more digital addiction as it can leave those with ADHD vulnerable.