A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
First, enter a username to gain access to the SLITHER.IO game screen, where you'll see a tiny worm with your username nearby. Short swipes move the snake to "eat" small orbs of light, which causes the snake to grow. Increase speed by double-tapping the screen and holding the snake. If you hit another snake, yours explodes and dissolves into light, which then can be consumed by others. The bigger your snake grows, the more difficult gameplay becomes. Players can see their current length, longest length, and top-ranking players in the upper-right corner of the screen. At the end of the day, the player with the highest score can post a message for all to see.
Is it any good?
This just-for-fun fun arcade game uses a bit of strategy, but lagging, ads, and frustration can put a damper on the fun. It's a bit maze-like, and players navigate the small passageways in between the snakes and figure out how to make it more possible for snakes to bump into you. It's unfortunate that even though there's nothing sexually explicit about the game and there's no chat option, users can (and do) choose profanity and sexually explicit words for usernames. Creating an option for kids to play offline against the app (not real people) or limit play to friends only would make slither.io more kid-friendly. Also, while growing snakes can be tons of fun, it can also get frustrating: Seasoned (and predatory) snakes show up to eat you, and sometimes gameplay slows down and can affect how accurate the controls are, which can end with your snake exploding. That's when it may be time to remind your kid that if the quest to grow the biggest snake becomes more compulsive and less fun, it may be time to close the app for a while and move onto something more substantive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why arcade-style games such as this can become so absorbing and about finding balance with screen use. If your kid is getting frustrated by his or her exploding snake or low length score, talk about harmless fun vs. pointless frustration.
If you or your kid sees a racy username, use it as an opportunity to discuss safe and appropriate usernames in public forums.
Talk about the ads that pop up when your snake "explodes." Are they bothersome? Geared toward kids or adults? Are the ads worth being able to download the app for free?
For kids who love arcade and strategy games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.