Sony, Microsoft, and yes, even Nintendo need to do better for the kids.

Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo all have main screens filled with advertisement but in a world of tailored ad experiences, why do children get subjected to EVERYTHING?
Bowser Covers Eyes. Image courtesy Eric Halliday
Bowser Covers Eyes. Image courtesy Eric Halliday /

We exist at a strange point in history where our every move is profitable to someone. Our devices listen constantly. Ever since I started talking to my wife about replacing the exterior walls of our house (I don't post about it online nor have been doing any searching) my ads on YouTube and Spotify have been all Lowes and Home Depot. One of my favorites was when my wife was listening to learning to speak Spanish programs and our Spotify started playing ads in Spanish for a while. It's a huge thing and it's crazy.

That being said, why does that stop when it comes to ads that our kids have to experience on their systems?

I already had a problem with this before my kids started gaming. I have pretty severe PTSD after an attacker left me with a conveniently placed knife cozy on my right leg. So sometimes, when I see ads for a game and it features blood or someone attacking with a knife I get a little shaken.

My kids though, who are 7 and 9 do not have PTSD but they do have rapidly developing brains. And when they get a chance to pick up a cheap game off the online store of their system of choice it is an ORDEAL.

Just as an example, let's pretend you pay for the Premium PSN Plus account like I do and you're looking to see if there's a fun new game for your kids to play on there.

Playstation Store Front
Switch Store Front. Image courtesy Eric Halliday / s

Oh, look! Sackboy's Big Adventure! That's a great game for up to four players to just chill and have a good time. It's that one sitting right there between the creepy inkblot face and the person screaming with their face wrapped in barbed wire. This was on the account my 7-year-old uses.

That's a bit heavy. Maybe we should check the Switch, that's the kid friendly one, right?

Switch Store Front
Switch Store Front. Image courtesy Eric Halliday /

Okay, there's a lot more good stuff here. Disney's Dreamlight Valley is alright, so is Nickelodeon Kart Racers. And Unpacking? Absolutely incredible game. And while the Fifa guy seems concerned about Hades, the real one is to the left. "Hentai Girls".

If you somehow survived the last decade without getting deep into the internet, "hentai" is a word that pretty much covers anime, manga, and images that are heavily sexualized. In the case of this game, it's sexy anime characters who lose more and more clothing as you solve puzzles. And it's always on sale for $1.99 so if your kid happened to have 2 or 3 bucks left on a card you got them, this would be an easy get.

And while your Switch can prevent them from playing the game with its parental controls (which are fantastic) it doesn't stop you from being bombarded with this stuff. The Nintendo store is especially bad right now because it is absolutely flooded with cheap games with Hentai in the title.

It also carries the same problem the Playstation and Xbox stores have where you'll see a ton of games that are fine nestled in with games with nightmarish images. The few visits I had with my kids to the store ended with them waking me up at night asking about images they saw that resurfaced when they were trying to get to sleep.

When are we going to see a change to this archaic setup? And one where all our search parameters aren't wiped back to default every time we reenter the store? Hopefully one day it becomes a priority but as for right now, it's a hot mess. I contacted reps from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo and I'll update if I actually hear something.

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