I wrote a while back about how I found out that Talking Tom had a potty mouth. Today I have seen a few friends post on Facebook about concerns people have with a similar app… Talking Angela (Talking Angela is made by the same company).
The Facebook status message goes a little something like this…
I cant even in words say what I just found out.. I am SHOCKED and want to tell and let my friends and family be made aware so they can make sure their children are safe!!! Angelica stayed home from school today and thank GOD she did. Because she was on her ipod playing a game called talking angela, which is similar to talking tom, anyway as she is sitting next to me this interactive cat says to her hi angelica where is your brother? She says o hes right here next to me the cat says o cool, then the cat says so what do you do for fun? Ang says I dont know, (now im being quiet and listening because I think its weird this angela cat knows she has a brother and is talking to her like a person) then its voice changes and in some weird robotic voice it says angelica when u date what do u do on your dates?……
It goes on and on from there, and you can tell the direction it’s going. It even goes so far as to say they’ve gotten the police involved and what not.
The truth of the matter is NO, this did not happen. If you happen to have the app installed go ahead and try it for yourself. You will discover the same thing I discovered. Now, like I mentioned before, this isn’t to say that I don’t have my issues with the app.
As mentioned in the previous post, I don’t like that you can view videos that others upload that could have some language not appropriate for children. There are also banner ads and in app purchases, which I never like having inside a game directed towards children. If the parent doesn’t know how to turn off access to in-app purchases, they could be looking at a large bill they weren’t expecting.
There IS a “child mode” you can enable on the app (which can remove the banner ads), it’s far too easy for even a 2 year old to figure out how to turn that off. All you have to do to turn off Child mode is press a smiley face icon. Yeah, cause kids would never think to push that. They probably could even end up turning it off accidentally. With child mode turned off you can “text” with Angela. The text chat is likely where this hoax generated from, as Angela will text you questions to answer, and you can ask her questions, which she will answer. Truth be told I don’t like the idea that she can ask you questions that you have free reign to answer, mainly because it teaches someone who is accessing it to give out information freely. My children know that they are never allowed to type their phone number, address, full name, etc ANYWHERE online or on their phone. It’s a conversation you just have to have whether or not they are using this app. The app makers have to know that adults aren’t really the ones downloading and playing this game. It’s wildly popular with children though. If they want to add that kind of stuff, they need to make child mode harder to turn off.
The difference between my issues with the app, and the Facebook status message going around, is that this data isn’t leaving the phone or going to some large database of information someone is gathering on your child.
So, while I personally don’t like the app, and wouldn’t let my kids play with it (all talking games were banned in my house after the previously mentioned potty mouth incident), it’s not the evil app that will destroy your children, as some people are saying on Facebook.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com