Mobile games have really came along since I was a kid. And when I say "since I was a kid" I mean I must have been about 10 years old when the original Snake came out on mobile. Oh how it was a simpler time, just a line on a screen trying to catch a dot. Those were the days, am I right? Now there's so many different types of games we can access anywhere, which isn't always the blessing it seems. Children are some of the top players of these free to download games and I've picked three types of games which I think are insanely problematic but are currently in the top 100 games downloaded.
Number one: Makeover Games. Now don't get me wrong, some of these games are oddly satisfying and not really too problematic. But I'm talking about the games where there is a right way to look and a wrong way. Some of the choices show multiple outfits which are to different tastes, but you pick the one that isn't popular then you lose. Also the point of the makeover always seems to be either to get a man or to become one of the popular girls. Because apparently girls have nothing else to aspire to other than fame and a husband. And you better hope you don't need glasses or braces because those sorts of imperfections will get you a loser screen too! I just think that fundamentally letting young girls (the game shown is aged 4+) that this is what is important is problematic. Girls you do what you want, your worth is not a condition to how you look, who your friends are or if you have a man.
Number two: Run/Cat walk games. This particular one on the right isn't as badly problematic as some of the others but you get the idea. There's a good thing to collect and a bad thing to collect, you collect enough of the good things without the bad and you get a victory dance and pass the level. I have seen a weight version where you collect burgers and chose to stay at home and your character gets larger and larger, you finish the walk big and you fail and a group of people laugh at you at the end and if that doesn't sound problematic to you I might argue you are part of the problem. This particular one (though I do like that studying is a good option) decides that your worth is depending on how much money you have. I think it's always the end of these levels that get me, the people who are thin or have money generally laugh at you and mock you as you slump upset at your failure. Overall, I think these games just make society look awful.
Finally how can this list ever be complete without mentioning the "stories" games. Oh how these games make me cringe and squirm. Who doesn't want to look at women like objects, make decisions such as "is this baby my husbands or my boyfriends?" and depend of validation from strangers and peers for your own self worth. These games also seem to always show you waiting for a man to save you, or using people to get ahead. I will give them kudos for being inclusive. It doesn't matter if it's man or woman, you can seduce them all! I guess the core issue with these games is the unrealistic standards and expectations. For an adult with a bit of escapism, sure if you're into that sort of thing, but the recommended ages for "stories" games start as low as 4+ years old. I don't think giving children the impression that the most important decisions they'll have to face in the future is whether or not to sleep with their boss or what mind games to play to get ahead.
Again I just want to add that these are my own opinions but even if you disagree I think it's an important conversation that needs to be had. Do these games have the impact that we worry about or is their an age limit on "guilty pleasures"?