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Ghost Detector Radar Camera

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Ghost Detector Radar Camera App Poster Image
Shallow faux ghost-tracker has ads, creative community.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

"Ghost" detection only requires moving around, and the interface is as simple as can be. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Ads are extremely intrusive unless you pay $0.99 to get rid of them. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ghost Detector Radar Camera is a free augmented reality (AR) app that lets users turn their phones into ghost-hunting instruments. The interface contains faux scientific gauges that measure atmospheric effects, thus letting users track "entities" (ghosts and demons). Once entities are found, users can ask them questions and receive answers. Though visual and audio effects are simple, the potential for scaring younger kids is real, especially when "ghosts" appear at home. Adding to the creep factor is the in-app catalog of user-generated ghost stories designed to scare readers the way nighttime campfire stories do. Ghost-tracking is interrupted by ads on a near-constant basis unless you pay a $0.99 fee. Note that the privacy policy indicates that the app isn't meant for kids under age 13, so it doesn't abide by laws around kids' data. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

GHOST DETECTOR RADAR CAMERA is a free (with ads) app that simulates the equipment used by paranormal experts on many popular reality TV shows. Its interface contains a live radar screen and gauges for measuring EMF (electromagnetic fields), EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), and ESP (extra-sensory perception). Users move around until the gauges detect a presence. The presence can manifest as sound or a ghostly visual, and once it's there, users can use their phone keyboards to ask it questions. Answers come back in a kind of runic ghost language that the app then "translates" into English. Users can use their phones to take pictures of apparitions and share them on social media or tell other users about their ghostly experiences on the app's Stories page. Ghost hunting is frequently interrupted by ads for other apps unless users pay $0.99 to get rid of them.

Is it any good?

This is one of those apps that, despite its limitations, generates an enthusiastic community that creates something bigger and better than the app. The app itself doesn't do much; you can tell within minutes how basic its so-called ghost-hunting capabilities really are. Ask "ghosts" more than a few basic questions, and the simulation fails, providing either identical answers from multiple ghosts or answers that have nothing to do with the question. The developers clearly didn't take enough time to anticipate all possible queries (or even some fairly basic ones), so success depends on sticking to questions like "Are you a man or a woman?" or "What is your name?" Go for something more complex like "Why do you linger here?" and you might get an answer like "U want proof?" (Who knew hundred-year-old ghosts were hip to texting shorthand?) 

Despite the app's less-than-stellar functionality, Ghost Detector Radar Camera has inspired hundreds of users to tell of their ghostly encounters on the app's Stories page. Scrolling through these anecdotes can give you goosebumps if you're a believer in ghostly entities, and doing so is like sitting around a fire at summer camp. The impulse extends beyond the app to both the Apple and Google app stores, where thousands of reviewers have left the app undeservedly high marks, likely because it inspired such a vibrant community of would-be storytellers. Despite the app's E for everyone rating, younger children probably shouldn't use it since the sight and sound of faux ghosts could trigger unnecessary fear, the ads don't make it kid-friendly, and the privacy policy indicates it's not intended for kids under age 13. Tweens and teens could get a limited kick out of it though, and if nothing else, will enjoy sharing their own phony ghost stories.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about ghost hunting using Ghost Detector Radar Camera and in reality shows. Do you think what you see on these shows is real, or is it manufactured for TV? What makes you think so?

  • Talk about free apps. If an app is free, how do the creators make money? Are there any risks?

  • Think about how AR can be used to alter reality. Do you think AR technology can be used to make fake things seem real? 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love augmented reality and spooky stuff

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