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My Child Lebensborn

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
My Child Lebensborn App Poster Image
Moving, immersive role-play about post-WWII discrimination.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about what it was like in a small town in Norway immediately after World War II. Klaus/Karin's narrative represents the experiences of the Lebensborn children after the war. The game includes some information about WWII and the Nazi regime, and may inspire kids to learn more. If parents supplement with discussion, kids can also reflect on larger themes of hate, acceptance, innocence, blame, and more.

Ease of Play

Play is easy but it does take a few rounds to get the hang of things.

Violence

Talk of bullying, including physical and verbal attacks. The main character sometimes has bruises.

Sex
Language

At least one instance of the word "slut."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Child Lebensborn is a role play game that presents the sometimes difficult moments of an adopted kid born to a German father and Norwegian mother, growing up in post-WWII Norway. The story covers some difficult subjects including war, conflict, bullying, and hatred towards others. It was inspired by experiences of real Lebensborn kids, who were born to German fathers and, often, mothers in German-occupied countries. Once the war was over, these kids were often rejected by their country because of their half-German parentage. As the adoptive parent, kids are in charge of working and providing for their child, Klaus or Karin (kids can choose to make their child a boy or a girl). Kids also make decisions about how to talk to Klaus/Karin about their biological parents, how to handle instances of bullying and harassment, and how far to investigate Klaus/Karin's family of origin. The story is long, and it could take hours to get through it completely. There's potential for some touching or disturbing moments in the narrative; parents should be available for discussion if needed. Kids can play in English, Norwegian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, or Spanish. 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?

In MY CHILD LEBENSBORN, kids choose to play with Klaus or Karin, and thus starts their journey through one year as the adoptive parent of a six-year-old in post-WWII Norway. With each day, tap the screen to advance Klaus/Karin's dialogue and choose from two or three options what to say in response. Throughout the narrative, players are also in charge of feeding, bathing, earning money, sending Klaus/Karin to school, looking into Klaus/Karin's biological heritage, and spending quality time with Klaus/Karin. Each choice kids make affects how the story continues. A journal provides additional information and historical context.

Is it any good?

This powerful story introduces complex themes in an accessible game format. By stepping into the shoes of an adult trying to care for little Klaus/Karin and kids get a real sense of the struggles and difficulties people in similar situations faced. It's heartbreaking to see the delightfully eager Klaus/Karin turn sullen after being bullied at school by schoolmates and teachers. Klaus/Karin has no idea why the others are picking on them, and kids decide how much and how kindly to let Klaus/Karin know about her biological past. As a game, My Child Lebensborn is a bit simplistic. The dialogue choices aren't always great, and it's not always clear how your choices influence how the story goes. Despite that, play feels relatively smooth and well-integrated with the narrative. This story of people being punished by society for things beyond their control is timeless, and My Child Lebensborn could be a nice starting point for in-depth discussion in your family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the many difficult themes that My Child Lebensborn introduces. Can you understand why the townspeople were so angry at Klaus/Karin? Is it fair? Explore hate, acceptance, anger towards a (past) enemy, innocence, blame, bullying, and survival after a devastating war. Follow the story along with your kids and ask what their feeling and thinking during the more difficult parts of the narrative.

  • If your kids are interested in finding out more about the real Lebensborn children, help them research on the internet or at the library.

  • Help your kids make connections to other similar circumstances in the past or present. Are there other situations in which people are picked on because of something they have no control over? 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love history and simulation apps

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