Last month, my then 9yo son was playing a 9+ app — a cool little bunny app called “Bunny Evolution.” I can find nothing inappropriate with the game, and there is no connectivity to other players which makes it an ideal app for younger kids.
However, as my little boy was playing the harmless bunny app, these ads popped up for another app called, “Choices.”
As you can see from the top picture, a girl’s boyfriend is cheating on her with another man. One of the options is to join them for a threesome. Join them?!?!
Parent alert: Ads can pop-up in games and are not restricted to the same age category as the app your child is playing.
Here is a description of the “Choices” app:
Parent alert: Age ratings are sometimes incorrect. The Choices app (which have these scenarios) are rated 12+. I’m sorry, no. In my opinion, that’s not appropriate for a 6th or 7th grader. Not even close
I know a post like this can raise a lot of fear in parents. Trust me, I’ve tried to bubble-wrap my kids. I’ve tried to say “no” to all technology. It didn’t work. My kids were still exposed to things from other kids. But, please don’t panic. I’ve found the solution is to create a culture of open communication in our homes. It sounds so simple, but the process of getting our kids to tell us what they’re really seeing and hearing online is a complicated process. I wrote a whole book about it. You can read the intro for free by clicking here.
By the way, my son reported all of this to me immediately. I told him, “I’m so proud of you for telling me and protecting your own heart and mind.” I’m not going to punish him and take away technology when he did everything right.
Do you have a similar story about ads in apps? If you do, please leave a comment and screenshots, if you have them.
Cyberparenting has blindsided all of us. We need to work together. Connect with us at nextTalk, a nonprofit organization providing practical solutions on how to keep our kids safe online.