Playful and vibrant, kids love it well, but far from eyes can reach the innocence shifts and darkness looms beneath.
It was not a secret that the kids of this generation, instead of playing outside and getting bruises and scars in exchange of fun, are just lurking in the corners of their home. As reported by the GWI blog post, 93% of boys aged 8-11 and 79% of girls choose mobile games as a part of their childhood entertainment. Although parents are aware that their children are engaged in video games for fun, little did they know that some of these leisures are not as innocent as they seem to appear.
Although most games are characterized by vibrant colors and playful characters, video games for kids are not an avoidable discussion. Some concepts are seen to be appropriate for kids with certain ages for it might be too frightening or complex for a child’s developing brain to understand.
It was common knowledge that children of young ages have this developing brain that allows them to imitate whatever they have seen or heard. Mostly kids aged 4 years old and above were already allowed by their parents to play such mobile games in order for them to at least behave and be entertained on their own. Yet, studies showed that not all children are guided accordingly to what they are playing, resulting in sometimes, inappropriate content exposure. While some are going easy on these topics, we have compiled some dark-themed kids' game concepts that might seem to look like a child's play hides a creeping shadow that is not so child friendly at all.
This massive hit mobile game, although not really intended for kids, has reached the young blood’s interest for its adorable character designs. Given its vibrant colors, Among Us became the first pick of the children who wanted an adventurous experience of seeking for traitors to be kicked out. For kids, this was like a game of hide and seek where you can get a chance to seek in reverse for the majority is the ‘It’.
Yet, Among Us is technically not just a game of hide and seek, for its story line is a little bit darker than the typical children’s game. The concept of this game revolves around a killer who pretends to be one of the justice seekers in order to strike a kill and the majority was given a chance to find the traitor within the group in order to be saved. Clearly, it is not a game for a kid for it includes the concept of killing which is not appropriate for the young audiences. Technically, this content should be dismissed when seen in a kids mobile for it would allow a child to develop a violent behavior towards others as taken inspiration to a game that he or she is playing.
While Bugsnax was originally marketed as a family-friendly game, it was evaluated that several elements of this game are not really a safe ground for kids to play with. This game is primarily a kid's choice as it involves collecting cute animals which are made of food while making friends with the island's creatures which mostly look like a walking teddy bear.
Yet, what’s disturbing about this game is that its progress gets a chance to scare young children. The transformation of Bugsnax as he was eaten by Grupmpus steers its content into a disturbing concept. Moreover, evaluations for these game suggests the mutations of the snacks in this game is a horror for kids of young audiences for Bugsnax are found to be a parasite of a kid that those who eat him turns to be him, a gory finding that creates emotional damage to a kid playing the game. For children with wild imaginations and fearful personalities, this game is surely a red flag as it can contribute to a child's psychological trauma.
Roblox creates stylish effects of vibrant colors which hook kids' interests at all times. But despite its most friendly designs and pleasing images, not all are conceptualized to be the friendliest pals for developing minds.
Roblox was found to reflect mature content like horror stories and disturbing real-life issues which should not be a great contribution to kids' understanding. Surprisingly, Roblox's family-friendly design is not so friendly at all as it was composed of far darker content including death, social issues, psychological uncertainties, and discrimination. Moreover, the game was also found to be prone to hackers allowing your child to be exposed to a variety of unpleasant stuff like inappropriate images and unrefined languages.
World of Goo
It may seem to be a simple resource-collecting game, but what lures behind is an unsettling idea that might not be good for a kid of a young age to discover. In simple understanding, World of Goo is just an adorable puzzle game with the goal to expand a tower.
But as the game became popular, World of Goo was seen to be a reflection of industrialization issues and societal dilemmas. The game seems to conceptualize a woman who, in order to provide power for the world around her, manages to sacrifice her own ability to move her face. The operation for this game comes out to be just operated successfully through the power of its beauty, which eventually fails when aged. A lot more interpretations suggested that this game has taken account of issues of adulthood. Further, the game captures innocent creatures for the benefit of its own, which greatly symbolized the reality wherein animals were used as test subjects for human products. It has caught the attention of many adults as it was not a simple issue that can be created for the kids' leisure. The disturbing concept of this game is widely debated for the story is obviously unsettling in many areas.
Oregon Trail is a pixelated RPG game used as an educational platform to share knowledge about 19th-century life. The game lets you play as a wagon leader that guides your chosen troops on their journey along the Oregon Trail. The game was loved by many parents including children who participated well on the character’s journey, but on the downside, the game is purely a graveyard for its characters.
Although this game offers valuable knowledge of the ancient era, its terrible dark side was tackled by critics. The game's concept is believed to not just be educational but at the same time a disturbing concept for children to engage with. The journey was brutal and deadly in any way possible where characters are bound to die any moment, starved due to lack of valuable resources and poor management, and drowning in some circumstances are some of the undesirable concepts which lead evaluators to believe that this may seem to be quite improper for a child’s game.
Epic Mickey originated from an old Disney cartoon that follows the adventure of Mickey in the Wasteland where characters are bound to go when they are not remembered anymore.
Many have suggested that this is a representation of the wholesome Disney creations' existential crisis, yet can also be characterized as an abandoned childhood for many. Sadly, we are bound to grow up and eventually step out of our comforting fun era with Mickey, yet this concept might be a little bit overwhelming for a young mind to play with. Emotional and dark, this theme can send a horrible idea for the kid who is just currently enjoying its fun development. Surely this game can steal all the fun.
Earthbound is a game that despite having adorable little characters also possesses a theme that parents will most likely let their child unexposed. Earthbound is a game where the supernatural force Giygas turned many people into dreadful monsters.
The game's heroes for this situation turned out to be children, who are given the responsibility to face the terrifying monsters to restore normalcy. The concept alone is upsetting for the reason that children were exposed to a disastrous role that not only allowed them to be in danger but also needed to face psychological battles in order to defeat the enemy. For a child being exposed to this kind of game may contribute to the distortion of their social expectation. Their playful mind may interpret the scenario as something that might also need to do – taking responsibility on behalf of adults.
Minecraft is a very common game that is played not only by kids but mostly by adults. While it was characterized as one of the safest games for a child to play, many still argue that Minecraft’s concept is beginning to shift from wholesomeness to its swamp areas.
Gamers found several themes that can be out of the child’s ventures in the first season of Minecraft: Story Mode. This mode begins to include characters that are framed for crimes that they did not even do, being trapped in a house where they must find a killer, and even face down enemies. Although Minecraft still focuses on building a world of your own, it was guaranteed that it was still appropriate for kids to play. The themes grow twisty as if following the aging of its first players making the younger generation innocent participants to the darkness that allures inside the creative world of Minecraft.
The Legend of Zelda
The legend of Zelda is an apocalyptic game where villagers are in a battle for survival against the end of the world. The game explores dangerous lands as the character’s battlefield, waking up alone, he should face any battles and find resources for his own survival.
The game's concept is found to be damaging for the young mind because it was of ideas of death. Occasionally, for developing children, the idea of death is not to be injected as a dreadful concept for it will affect their beliefs as they grow older. And for a game that is full of dead characters’ final wishes, trials of life before finally meeting their death, and reuniting with loved ones before the end can be considered an unsuitable concept for a kid. It is quite disturbing to allow a child to be exposed to the terrible idea of death and that’s what makes this game a big no for young gamers.
Pokemon Black and White
The Pokemon franchise existed for a very long time that it was unavoidable for the franchise not to create at least a critical concept for a game. Pokemon Balck and White comes with a tale that surprisingly turned out to be a concept that might not be for everybody, especially for its young fans.
The entry was found in the rivalry of Team Plasma leader N that hopes to free all Pokemons as he sees his loyal companions as gentle creatures deserving of freedom. Yet, on the other side, just wanted to be just the only human to exhibit power over Pokemon in order to take over the world. This conception is not an ideal inspiration for younger audiences.
At the end, this article was just made to remind adults out there that it is your responsibility to at least give your child attention and take part in the leisure of their choice. Yes, mobile games are indeed one way to behave your child but do consider that mobile sites and applications can deeply damage your child’s development, not only because too much screen exposure can affect their health but also, it is where inappropriate contents lurkes.
There is no exception to the rule of cyber crimes on the internet and even the most innocent looking applications cannot be spared. Remember that a kid’s brain is way better than yours, whatever they see, hear and understand will be imitated and displayed, thus, as a parent or a guardian, it is important for you to check on a child's interest, spend time learning about what they love to do for it is not a favor but your obligation. Happy bonding!