Have you heard your kids talking about Among Us game? Is this app really safe for your child?
Among Us was unheard of like many other apps for a long time. But during the pandemic period, we have seen a massive surge in the use of this app. It came into the limelight when US members of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar played it live on Twitch as a publicity stunt to attract young voters. Wondering, why we are concerned about this app so much?
Let us start by getting familiar with Among Us.
About Among Us
Among Us, a popular online multiplayer game is basically based on murder-mystery. This app allows 4-10 players to play the roles of either a crewmate or an imposter.
In simple words, the goal of
- a crewmate is to identify the imposter
- an imposter is to sabotage tasks and kill crewmates before they could finish their tasks.
Moreover, its play store description says “ Prep your spaceship for departure, but beware as one will be an imposter bent on killing everyone!”
You must have got an idea of exactly what this app is promoting.
Well, it is VIOLENCE.
Why Do Kids Love Among Us?
The reason kids love this game are:-
- Playing it is a thrilling experience
- Free to play
- Easy to learn
- Allows them to make new friends
- Includes Cartoon-like graphics with attractive use of colors
Have you wondered what is the age rating for this app? Like, how old you should be to use this app?
Age Rating for Among Us
In 2018, when Among Us was launched, it was rated 16+ on the play store due to the strong violence it glorifies. But later, by naming it Fantasy Violence and Mild Blood it has changed its rating to 9+.
Though the animation is done in a cutesy style by using animated characters, the violence involved in it may not be suitable for the tender minds of kids. Some kids cannot handle lying and deception involved in it. Maybe a 14 or 16-year-old will not be affected much while playing it as there is no visible blood in the game and dead bodies are shown as honey-baked ham. But for your 9-year-old, we don’t think it is a good idea.
Wondering why? Let us give you the reasons.
Why Is Among Us Not Safe for Your Kids?
Online chat feature in the Among Us app lets your child interact with anyone in this world when it is set to public. They may talk with problematic strangers which could put their privacy at risk. Many times use of inappropriate language, racial slurs are prevalent on the chat portal.
For sure, Among Us has provided a censor button to filter out inappropriate and slang language but it is not fulfilling its purpose effectively. No algorithm is perfect, there are many words that cannot be blocked by the filter.
Moreover, it is not password protected. Your child can turn it off easily in a second. There are also issues with usernames, people sometimes use bad language or racial slurs as their username. As they know, the usernames can’t be filtered out, no matter how good their syntax controls are.
Pop-up ads after each game luring kids into using real-life money for various prompting upgrades. Kids can accidentally sign up for new features or new games as well as their personal information may be at stake.
As you may have got to know till now that the primary task of this game is to kill others. Though it doesn’t sound any different from other multiplayer games, to us it is surely not appropriate for our kids.
The cartoonish style of the game with full of colorful animations makes it look less violent. But, the death scenes like getting stabbed with a knife or a sharp alien tongue, breaking neck, use of guns are somewhat shocking animations.
In the free version, around 12+ games are promoted, and pop-up ads are shown of these ads after every game. Some of the ads include sexualized content and are definitely not appropriate for a 9 year as well as for even a 16-year-old.
Have you installed the Among Us app?
Then you must have seen the disclaimer while you were setting up the app. It clearly specifies that it will collect your device ids and your geolocation in the free version in order to serve up ads.
As Among Us promotes active interactions with strangers of all age groups, we have seen some cases when a team ganged up on a single child and started bullying them by using cuss words.
Kids and predators share a special relationship. Online predators do not leave a single chance to lure them into their trap. The online chat feature can be used by these hackers to lure kids into unethical activities, hacking their computers or breaching personal information.
Should you let your children play Among Us?
Among Us does contain some disturbing elements with violent themes which might be not so appropriate for younger minds. But, on the brighter side, it provides a platform for family interaction and an opportunity to stay connected with friends even in this pandemic through a fun online game.
Parents should take some precautions to mitigate its ill effects.
How can parents make Among Us a Safe Experience?
- Parents should make sure that the chat sensor is always turned on their kid’s device. Make ground rules, like only allowing playing with real-life friends in private mode. Also, monitor yourself with whom your kids are playing.
- Speak to your children about protecting their individual information and make sure that they don’t share it with anyone else on chat.
- Make sure that your child is not using any other chat platform to chat with strangers they met on Among Us by using Bit Guardian Parental Control.
- Among Us is addictive just like any other multiplayer game. Make sure to apply screen time controls on your kid’s device before letting them install this app.
- Teach them to identify and report cyberbullying-style behaviors by players in the game. They must know when to leave the game.
- Do not share your credit card information with your child so that they do not make any in-app purchases intentionally or unintentionally.
We know parenting is hard and restricting children from doing something they love is even worse. While we do not fully approve of the idea that you should let your child play this game without monitoring them, we also think Among Us is a fun game to play together as a family. Based on child’s age, digital reliance, and emotional maturity, parents should take the final decision of whether they should let their child play it alone or not.
Whatever decision you take, do not forget to install Bit Guardian Parental Control on your child’s device. It will not only help to put time limits on the app but will also keep your little one safe from online predators.