A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie Digital Makeover works with a Mattel toy, the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror (which retails for $69.99), turning the iPad into a mirror that lets kids put on virtual makeup. Without the toy, kids can see their faces made up with makeup masks, which have big lips, fake eyelashes, and intricate eye shadows. It's totally vain but in such a silly, over-the-top fashion that it shouldn't be threatening to self-images. The free app comes with three faces of makeup plus a few stickers and backgrounds to use to decorate scrapbook pages. Kids could save their creations to the camera roll and share with friends that way, but there are no in-app sharing options.
What's it about?
To get started, kids line their faces up with the guides shown on-screen. When they're lined up just right, the makeup magically appears, in the form of decorated eyes, blush, and lipstick. Kids can scroll through the makeup options on the bottom of the screen to change the design instantly, and then scroll to the camera icon to snap a picture. From there, they can choose a frame, paper background, stickers, other accessories, and text to decorate a scrapbook-style page. The shopping cart icon takes kids to the store to buy more options.
Is it any good?
The technology in BARBIE DIGITAL MAKEOVER is impressively good, but it's not perfect. Kids will be amazed to see their faces all made up with such dramatic flair, and they'll definitely want Mom and Dad to give it a try, too, which is sure to get even more laughs (and make a fabulous profile picture!). It's hard to get the makeup to line up perfectly, and it's really easy to move too much, causing the makeup to disappear. A video tutorial walks kids through the how-tos before they start, and help and troubleshooting tips are available by tapping the question mark. The free version includes enough for quite a bit of fun, but parents may want to set clear guidelines of how many, if any, in-app purchases will be allowed, as these can add up very quickly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how some people use makeup to change their appearance and how sometimes marketers use computer software to change models' appearances. Let kids know that what they see on-screen or in images may not always be what people really look like.
Families also can talk about how a person's outer package doesn't necessarily represent what's on the inside: someone's personality.
Parents can disable in-app purchases (for this and all apps) in the settings of their device, under the general tab.