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Your Digital Kids

And Games to Avoid

thrillerNothing wrong with a mindless game every now and then, but some games are more mindless than others. I’d have your kids steer clear of these. One because it’s grossly sophmoric, two because it was a terrible game that Michael Jackson’s death will resurrect. And three because it fuels the notion of jihad as something worthy of attention.

iFart: There seems to be a fart virus in the mobile applications stores. iFart, the daddy of these apps, was grossing $10,000 a day and it’s only a 99 cent purchase. (You do the math.) Since iFart’s introduction, Apple approved at least 14 more fart apps for distribution through the store. If you hear the sound of gas passing from your kid’s iPhone you’ll be one up.

Moonwalker: This is the Michael Jackson version, not the Apollo version. In 1990, SEGA released Moonwalker, an arcade video game starring Michael Jackson. Michael maneuvers through a pool hall, a dark alley, and a graveyard, fighting thugs, robots, and zombies on a quest is to save children. The game even includes Bubbles the chimp. Michael prances and shows his moves as “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “Beat It” create the soundtrack. If he gets too many hits he falls and cries “help me,” begging for another quarter. There were a number of home versions as well and the Michael Jackson games are popping for sale as collector’s items.

Virtual Jihad: There have been a number of these games and variations since 2003. The early ones depicted Americans searching and shooting in the hopes of finding Saddam Hussein. The newer variants have Al-Qaeda hunting down George Bush.  Some are variants of the BattleZone game. virtual-jihadMaybe we should let these guys play the game instead of the real war, but there’s something offensive about watching kids play a game that so imitates the realities of war.

Others to steer clear of: Blades—a violent game with a sexpot heroine. Manhunt 2 for its extreme violence. When in doubt about a game’s appropriateness for kids, the best choice is to go to a site like the ESRB or Common Sense Media and check out the ratings.