In a child’s eyes, everything may seem like fun and games. But sometimes, fun things hide undiscovered horrors. From a seven-year-old’s avatar being gang raped on Roblox to online suicide challenges, now there are even child-friendly apps that can hide sinister content. A recent one comes with season’s greetings, posing as a Santa Claus calling app.
Santa Claus calling app threatens to murder children
Kersty Elizabeth Taylor, a mum-of-two in the USA, recently made a terrifying discovery. She noticed that her three-year-old had downloaded an app called “Santa Call NEW 2018” on her Kindle. The app gives users a chance to be contacted by Santa Claus.
However, the supposedly child-friendly Christmas app was a disguise for a frightening message. When the call connects, a hoarse voice responds. The voice, which one Amazon reviewer quotes is “like someone who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day,” says:
“Hello, there. Can you hear me? In five nights, if you’re free, I will look for you. I will find you, and I will kill you.”
The quote could be homage to Liam Neeson’s famous line in the movie Taken, but it has no place in a child’s app.
Watch the mum’s horrifying experience here:
App taken off playstore
Kersty has since told Amazon about the app. She has also shared her worries on Facebook, writing “What sort of a sick and twisted person would make an app made for children to call Santa into this!”
Sources say that at first, it was Kersty’s son, aged 12, who downloaded the “child-friendly” app using his Kindle. Then, her three-year-old daughter, Evie-Elizabeth, opened the app to call Santa — and ended up wailing in fright after hearing such an ominous message.
The app has since been removed for downloads on Amazon.
Tips to keep your child safe from potentially harmful kid apps like the “Santa Claus calling app”
Mums and dads, the main lesson to learn here is this: NEVER leave a child to download apps without your supervision. Ensure that know what they’re downloading or viewing at all times. You can do some research and see through reviews, first for example.
But, most of all, try the app first. Here are some questions to help you decide whether the app is suitable for your child or not:
1. Is the app appropriate for your child’s age?
Even though each app comes with a maturity rating, they may not be accurate all the time. For instance, some apps might look like they’re designed for kids, but their developers could have made it with teenagers in mind.
It is your decision as a parent to determine the best media for your child because you know them best.
2. Does it have any educational value?
Deciding on an app quality doesn’t come with a set of criteria. You’ll have to use your own experience as a parent to judge if it’s helpful. You can start by asking: Is it engaging, well-designed, or does it lag constantly? Most of all, does it have any educational value?
For most parents, apps shouldn’t just be a way to kill time. Rather, it should also help your child learn something new. Ask yourself: What does your child take away from the experience aside from learning how to sit still and play quietly?
Do some research first about apps – like the santa claus calling app – before letting your children have fun with them. | Image source: File photo
3. Is it most of its content user-generated?
Parents should be cautious about popular apps which are made up of mostly of uploads – photos, videos – from everyone. Two good examples are Snapchat and Vine, which target tweens and teens.
Unrestricted content can easily morph an innocent app into something harmful. Inappropriate language and images – including violence and sex – can easily slip through before censoring teams can filter them out.
4. What have other users said about it?
User reviews can be very helpful, but go beyond the reviews on the app page itself. Do your research. Find out what mums and dads are saying about it on other sites, or ask other mums and dads of family friends. People can be a lot more honest on their own social media accounts.
So dig deep! Make sure an app passes all these considerations before handing it over to your kid for their enjoyment.
Be diligent when it comes to digital media, mums and dads! It’s better to be extra careful in order to raise a tech savvy but safe kid.
Parents, we hope that this article on the dangers of the santa claus calling app has been able to make you better choices for your kids. Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
References: New York Post, youtube
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