This digital board game has a dual-sided personality, which makes it challenging to fully endorse for young gamers that just want to play and draw. One side features fun, slower-paced rounds users can play against a friend they’re sitting near by passing their phone or tablet back and forth. The other is an often frantic dash to show a term in a way a stranger playing in a remote location will correctly guess. Both provide a stimulating challenge, but only one, though, is a game parents will likely want kids playing. The turn-based option is fun, easy to figure out, and completely harmless. Kids can’t see, talk to, or be seen by strangers. But the other version poses some concerns. Although game-based interactions are seemingly innocent, the app provides other ways for you to get to know players. Type a letter into the search field and you can choose from any one of dozens of usernames that pop up and easily friend or send that person a chat. Your photo may appear if you register with your Facebook account. And your full name can be visible, if it’s in the email address you use to sign up instead.
If kids are under 13 and state their real age when they sign up, the turn-based option is the only one they’ll have. If they’re older, however -- or say they are -- parents may not be comfortable with the app’s chatting and friendly capabilities. Kids should be able to have just as much fun facing off against players they know who are in the room with them; if parents can get them to only use that version of Pictionary, it’ll vastly reduce the risk they’ll come into contact with strangers -- and make for a better playing experience, since some players cheat and just spell the answer out, and ads for video games seem to pop up after nearly every round in the multiplayer version, which gets really annoying, really fast.