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.
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
Friends: Nursemaid, Creepy Loner
Habitat: Glat on the ground
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!