Nickelodeon, You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself!

Nickelodeon Game Screen Shot. DRUNK GIRL….would you grab a camera or hold her hair back?

Let me preface what I am about to say with this:  I completely agree that parents are responsible for policing their kids internet activity, app downloads, etc. – be it through internet site restricting software, keeping track of apps that have been downloaded through iTunes accounts, etc.  Also, I am a pretty laid back Mom; not completely “hands off” by any means – but pretty laid back.

That said, here we go!!!…….

I take issue with the content of this Nickelodeon games app for kids rated 12+.  I think some of the content is so crude and belittling, it is inappropriate for any kid under 18 (and even then, the picture of the girl on the floor in front of the toilet with the choice of “let me grab a camera” is base and degrading no matter how you look at it).  It is also troubling that it was the Nickelodeon brand name that made it attractive to my daughter and she felt “safe” downloading it because Nickelodeon is a “kid” brand (and I am sure she probably saw the 12+ rating and thought it all the more enticing (she is 10)….but still felt safe downloading it because it was Nickelodeon).

***The responsibility to monitor her downloads falls solely on my shoulders and I failed (obviously)…..HOWEVER — how in the HELL is this appropriate even for kids 12+? Really?

Seriously – if my daughter were 12, this would be “OK,” Nickelodeon? REALLY?!?

The ANSWER is no!  NO! –  Nickelodeon, this is NOT appropriate for a 12 year old, a 13 year old….to be quite honest, I do not know what age for which this might be considered appropriate….but I DO know it is not 12 year olds.

Here is my story and I’m stickin’ to it…..see what you think.

Last night, I was sitting in bed with our 10 year old daughter, Eliza, and looking at an iPad game pack she had downloaded called Nickelodeon Addicting Games; a free iPhone/iPad/iPod app containing 36 games.

We opened  Ingenious Personality Quiz, which shows you about 20 screens in succession with photos and asks “What would you do” or has you choose between two options. As we were playing, some things started popping up that were really crude…..and then the one in the picture above popped up with the drunk girl on the floor and the player being asked to choose between one of two actions; “Let me grab a camera” or “Let me hold your hair”.   “Arrag!  Oh my GOSH! What is this game!?!?” I screeched.  “What? What’s wrong?” my daughter asked – she didn’t understand the photo (thank goodness!)  We kept playing, pretty much because I wanted to know what “awful thing” was next and trusting it wouldn’t be too bad because it was a Nickelodeon App……

As we played, other amusing questions/choices on Ingenious Personality Quiz included (not in the order in which they appeared):

What do you see? The choice being “a goblet”  or  “Girls about to kiss!” (my problem is not with “girls” about to kiss but rather making sexual inferences where there are none – AND making any sexual inferences in a game for 12 year olds) – it is a classic optical illusion!  Couldn’t it be “a goblet”  or  “faces”!?!

I Would Use This To (cans of spray paint):  – “Paint dolphins and unicorns and faries and flowers”  OR  “Tag stuff.”

My Greatest Fear Is: A picture of a naked man (waist down) in business socks and shoes clutching his legs together in what appears to be a bathroom, shielding his groin area with his hands  OR  a picture of a mobile home.

This Is A (picture of a hammer): The choice is a “multi-directional impact generator” OR “answer to any argument”.

Eliza started to get a bit nervous at my reaction to the Personality game and said “No Mom!  Look at this one!  You will like this one!”.  We opened High School Cheerleader – which is like any dance game where you are given cues on which step/direction to take and graded on your ability to follow the steps at the right time.  Upon opening High School Cheerleader, you are given a line-up of “girls” to choose as your avatar.  I balked at the avatars, but since this game is rated Tween+, my daughter defended it because she is indeed a “Tween” (defined as: A child between middle childhood and adolescence, usually between 8 and 12 years old) and “it’s from Nickelodeon, Mom!”.  So apparently, this game is OFFICIALLY designed for children 8 years and older……REALLY? (click on the photo….really?!)

…and if you are wondering, yes, it IS weighing heavily on my heart that I “dropped the ball” and when she has yelled from two rooms over “Hey Mom! Can I download this app? It’s from Nickelodeon! I have a credit from my gift card on iTunes!”….I have always yelled back “Oh sure! Thanks for asking!”(because she always has to ask, but you know, it’s nice to compliment her on acting responsibly)….I have always answered “yes” to that question BECAUSE it was Nickelodeon….it’s almost like I thought “they had my back”….but I was wrong….and I was a complete idiot for ever thinking so in the first place, because they are “big business” and “sex sells”….and we are all on our own with regard to this kind of thing….now I know this, and now so do you.

The “Gutless Wonder” in blue & her best friend Annabelle….she looks nothing like a “gutless wonder” to me…she looks just wonderful!

P.S. and by the way, if you are wondering about how the game classified Eliza’s “Ingenious Personality”, it was Gutless Wonder (when you read this, imagine she is 12 – because after all, it is rated for 12+):

Gutless Wonder: These submissive cowards are so quick to roll on their backs that they need to wear special ass-pads so they don’t get holes in their pants.  Complacent as cows, they tend to herd together, sharing group hugs and making it easier to beat them up all at once.

Aliases: Sissy, Wimp

Diet: Tofu

Animal: Jellyfish

Friends: Nursemaid, Creepy Loner

Habitat: Glat on the ground

Color: Yellow

Call: “Can’t we all just get along?”

Enemies: Tight Ass, Bully

I told Eliza I was going to write about this and she was HORRIFIED!!  She said “No Mom! Don’t! You are going to embarrass me in front of the whole world!”  I let her read this post last night. After reading it, she looked at me and said ” you are trying to defend me instead of trying to embarrass me, aren’t you?”

…..yes love, I was, I am and will always be.

Please feel free to comment…..you don’t have to agree with me, but you do need to comment intelligently or I will edit your comments.

By Eleanore Macnish

UPDATE: This blog was featured on Jezebel.com! There is some interesting discussion on their comment thread!

19 thoughts on “Nickelodeon, You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself!

  1. Wow Eleanor, this really is mortifying, and quite sad. I also read the piece on Jezebel. I don’t think this kind of crap is suitable for anyone, of any age. The “quiz” –questions as well as answers–promotes values of violence, classism, sexism… and for what purpose? To be ‘defined’ as a Gutless Wonder? I hope Nickelodean has killed this app and seriously reconsidered others that might be similary. Makes me happy thatmy daughter and I share a dumbphone…

  2. i remember when i was in high school i couldn’t believe the crap that Nickelodeon thought was good tv. My nephew used to watch rugrats and other shows. now that im a parent i see that rugrats is mild to the crap that they put out now. and im sorry but dora and deigo arent that bad of shows but do they have to yell when they talk?? and that doesnt even touch the things that are talked about in this article. I am not a fan of nickelodeon and have always questioned anything they put out.

    • Rug Rats seems like Sesame Street compared to what is on now. Sad.

      All the best, Eleanore

      Ellie Mac glass beads > jewelry > fun

      Eleanore Macnish Glass Beadmaker, Silversmith & Jewelry Design

  3. We stopped watching the Nick network when my son was about 12. After homework my son would ask if he could watch tv (Nick) in his room & I agreed thinking that since it was a kids program it would be fine. Later I was appalled when I went in with a snack to hang out & watch it with him. The teen & tween shows were not at all what I was expecting nor any I want my middle schooler watching! Good for you for writing this up! And kudos to everyone who shares it with a friend!

    • Thanks so much! I totally agree with you regarding the other shows! Even the *ads* for Degrassi are inappropriate!

      All the best, Eleanore

      Ellie Mac glass beads > jewelry > fun

      Eleanore Macnish Glass Beadmaker, Silversmith & Jewelry Design

  4. A book that is fodder for the kinds of discussions here is Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy. While I think the book presents one side of an issue and some of the research is not presented as well as it could be, this incredible blur between feminism and “raunch culture” is something that parents of young girls are going to be dealing with for some time to come. The images of women on the Nickelodeon game SHOULD be protested by all of us that care and are passionate about how females are depictetd, treated and viewed.

    • Thanks Suzette! Thank you for commenting! This is ridiculous! Hopefully it gets picked up by other websites because it is in a word – disgusting!

    • You are welcome….and thanks for posting a comment whose strength is communicated by a couple of “choice words”. Also, thank you for saying “Thank You” – I was a little worried when I posted this.

    • I am so glad you mentioned your Facebook page! I look forward to checking it out! …….because of the experience with this app, I am feeling the same way unless I have time to play through the whole game of whatever Eliza has downloaded……and once she has downloaded it, the money spent on the app is gone if I have problems with it! I think for us, it is just best to steer clear of the Nick apps as well.

  5. SHAME ON NICKELODEON IS RIGHT!!!!!! I am outraged! It’s NOT ok to ignore someone in distress. The girl by the toilet could actually die from alcohol poisoning! It’s not ok to exploit “girls” kissing. It’s NOT ok to encourage addiction–NO NO NO! The drunk-on-the-floor and putting thoughts in an innocent mind about faces that are now, thanks to the app, kissing girls is just, well, disgusting. I’m not an uber conservative mom. My 3 year old gets to play the iPhone apps I’ve chosen for her, she gets to watch some tv, and she has a V.Reader. While I know I have to police the Internet, “Kids brands” do NOT have to be promoting bullying, ignorance, drunkenness or sex to CHILDREN. Truly DISGUSTING and, if you ask me, it should be re-rated or RECALLED.

    • Oh thank you for pointing out all that “other stuff”! The draft of my post was REALLY long because I included EVERYTHING I thought was offensive about the game! The draft was really, really long and I edited out sooo much to try to make it palatable and readable! I am so glad that people have posted comments like yours on my site and on Jezebel.com – you are echoing my own “edited for space” thoughts and also have come up with new points I did not even see in my “frustrated rage haze”! Thank you!!

  6. This makes me want to scream! It is for this reason that the kids are not allowed to use the Internet without prior approval. My oldest, Madi, is going through puberty at 10. We are dealing with all things tied to growing up. Even harder since she is a tomboy and is not into girlie stuff at all. Ugh! She has a couple of homework assignments that require a venture out to an Internet site. I login and take the screen there. I have asked her not to go to other sites, but being a curious kid…… Well I was on my Ipad and went to Safari and was greeted with BOOBs…….NOOOOOoOOoo….. Yes, boobs and some other things that made my stomach flip. I looked at the search and it said naked boobs. Of course, I freaked. I asked Madi what she was looking for and she said she wanted to see what hers would look like when they got bigger, understandable. I told her that the site was not an appropriate site to get that info and we would look, together, for some info. (getting the care and keeping of you for her to have). I also told her that the Internet is like going outside to an unknown neighborhood. Just because you are sitting at a screen does not mean you should go into a strange place. Think of all these places as doors-you don’t know what is on the other side and for now I need to be with her before she goes through these doors. It is sad that this is what we have to do, but technology has made it so! I see the same inappropriate ratings on movies, TV shows, etc. Who is determining what should be allowed and what is not. Why can’t our kids be kids and not little versions of us. Don’t get me started on all the mini-me’s I see running around. My heart aches for the innocence lost. Done with my soapbox. You are a super mom and this is evident because you actually saw what the game was about BEFORE she had been playing for weeks. Some parents are not tuned in at all and you are. 🙂

    • I love your analogy of the Internet as “going to an unknown neighborhood”! That is so perfect and I will use it when talking to my daughter! I often use the term you cannot “unring the bell” with Eliza when we talk about her having a choice of watching/seeing something or not (basically making “good choices” when I am not around…) with regard to TV. I tell her that everyone’s brains are set on “record” and once you see/hear something, it is with you always and that there are all sorts of things I do not “click” on because I do not want do not want to deal with the ramifications of seeing/hearing certain things on the Internet! I feel your frustration and sadness, but don’t lose hope! Our kids are still “kiddos”!! I think it is a really good thing to talk about all this stuff with them every step of the way, because it is something with which they will be dealing as they age….and hopefully, with some guidance, it will be easier to traverse their new terrain! If we want to completely shield them from it, we might as well give up! – but if we want to teach them about it – it’s dangers and it’s wonders – then we have a chance!! I think you might like this site – we read it every morning on Eliza’s iPad – she reads it aloud as I am preparing breakfast and then we talk about it over breakfast! http://wonderopolis.org/

      • Thank you for the link to Wonderopolis. We will definitely check it out. Have a fabulous weekend.

  7. One more example of the sex you up attitude that todays media and general political attitude is attempting to make the norm by introducing to our kids at an earlier and earlier age. Actually promoting the concept of addiction “Addicting Games” as something that should be attractive and marketable.

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