So, you’ve bought the latest smartphone or tablet for your child and you want to personalise it. What a great idea! But what games should you be downloading for them?
We know you don’t want games that are going to become as all-consumingly addictive as Minecraft. We know you also want ones that are safe — not these games you hear about that have online chat rooms where predators lurk.
That’s why we asked around, did the research, and came up with this list of 7 safe but fun apps to download for your kids.
Sonic Dash – age 6+
Who can remember Sonic from way back in the day? Well, he’s still here and still charming kids around the world. Sonic Dash is essentially an endless running game, where Sonic runs for the fun of it. Sonic can be injured by running into spiked enemies or hit his head by running into objects, but that’s about as scary as it gets.
In terms of in-app purchases, they are available but they aren’t forced on kids seeing as earning coins in the game itself is easy!
Angry Birds Space – age 7+
We all remember Angry Birds, right? Angry Birds Space is the sequel. Now some parents rate this app suitable for age 11+, yet the low levels of cartoonish violence and moderate levels of consumerism mean Common Sense Media have ranked it a 7+.
This version of Angry Birds is set in space (who knew), but an additional world can be unlocked by paying $0.99 and power-ups can also be pay-per-use as well as earned in the game. There’s also a Game Centre social network to be aware of, where your kids can share their high scores.
Super Mario Run – age 8+
We think no childhood would really be complete without having played Super Mario at least once! This arcade game is friendly, fun, non-offensive and has no violence.
The first 3 levels are free. To unlock the other 21 levels you have to spend $9.99. But for hours of safe entertainment, we still think Super Mario Run is worth including on the Christmas list this year.
Rolling Sky – age 8+
Simple and easy to start, Rolling Sky is an arcade game that may just get a little addictive! In saying that, there is no violence, rude language or adult themes and the level of difficulty keeps it just engaging enough.
Just a quick note that there are occasional ads for other games as well as the ability to buy more balls, so just watch the in-app purchases!
Roblox – age 10+
Possibly the most similar to Minecraft on our list is Roblox, a game-creation site where kids design and upload their own games. Weapons are included in the game and there is a multi-player environment so kids can chat with each other, which is worth being wary of if your kids are meeting new people online.
The good news is that there is a safe-chat mode for kids under 13, and parents can log in to oversee their child’s use of Roblox.
Note: There are also in-game currency items that can be paid for with real money and a membership option that parents should be aware of.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 – age 11+
We suspect most of you would have heard about Plants vs. Zombies. This new version has the same silly premise (protect your house from zombie using plants) but also comes with power-ups and a hint of violence. Though, the only violence you’ll encounter is pinching the heads off zombies or electrocuting them with a finger. It is all done for comedic effect and in a playful manner.
There are also in-app purchases which go up to $99.99, but players who take their time can play the whole game without spending a penny. A good way to learn delayed gratification through games!
Pokemon GO – age 13+
We couldn’t make a 2017 list of safe but fun apps without including Pokemon Go! The app of the year, it gets kids interacting with their environment and keeps them on the move by catching Pokemon in their local area. Though, make sure kids don’t wander into private property and stay alert while playing!
Those are the 7 safe but fun apps we’ve recommended to put on the Christmas list this year, but what games are you going to go for? Are there any that we haven’t mentioned that you think should be included on the list? Let us know!
RELATED: Want to see how you can block games when it comes to Study Time?Take a sneak peek at how Habyts Study Time works
Need help with screen time squabbles this holiday season? Habyts is the holiday helper for you! Just get in touch with your problem and we’ll help you solve it.