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 Is Buzzy 'Frozen' App Harmful to Kids?

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PostSubject: Is Buzzy 'Frozen' App Harmful to Kids?   Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:25 pm

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Given all the Frozen merchandise (costumes, dolls, lunch boxes, T-shirts), Frozen apps have naturally become the next big craze for kids unable to let Anna and Elsa go (although the movie came out way back in 2013). But there’s nothing natural about the new game Anna Giving Birth.

The unlicensed app, available on iTunes and FrozenGames.org, shown in full in the YouTube clip below, promises to pick up where the Disney flick left off. “Anna got married and she was pregnant in the spring,” the app summary states. “Now nine months had [sic] elapsed, and it’s time to give birth to a baby. Anna needs a very experienced doctor to help her deliver her baby. Let’s come to help her!”

Released in November, the game only recently started getting lots of attention online via posts and articles calling out the questionable — as well as, frankly, queasy — graphics and activities. Gamers play the role of the princess’ ob-gyn. Kids, presumably, are tasked with injecting Anna with a sedative and slicing her open with a scalpel as well as snipping off the baby’s umbilical cord.

And if that weren’t enough, there are also loads of sketchy affiliated advertisements. “Parents should know that, should your kids come across sites like this one (and there are many similar ones too), besides the games themselves, there are tons of ads inappropriate for kids all over,” the gurus at Cool Mom Tech warned Wednesday. “That includes a banner featuring screenshots of other games which will pop up while your game is loading.”

Parents are wise to object, psychotherapist Andrea Nair tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s potentially harmful to young children,” she says. Take the birth story line. “Cesarean deliveries are typically an emergency room procedure,” she says. “You don’t want children to expect that that’s how babies are always born.” Then there’s all that handiwork with the scalpel. The young kids likely drawn to this game “aren’t old enough to understand what’s happening,” she says. “They may even think, ‘Cool, I cut someone and a baby comes out.’”

Even simply the act of playing with a knife can prompt negative associations in developing minds. “As a therapist, I’m cringing thinking of this because cutting is a serious thing,” Nair says. “If children are making light of it or having fun doing it, that is not OK. You do not want kids to think that cutting is normal.”

If young ones have already stumbled upon the game and played, don’t freak out, she adds. “Just tell them, ‘Oops, that’s not for kids,’ and delete it immediately and forget about it — and hope your children do too. If kids start to ask questions about it, keep answers simple, she advises. “Say something like, ‘Only doctors cut, and cutting really hurts. It happens in a hospital, and this game is not OK.’”

Then make sure your iPads and mobile devices are password protected from little fingers. “You don’t want kids to be able to download something like this by accident.” In other words, this game is one bit of Frozen fun that parents should put on ice.

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