What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Social Girl may be a free app, but there's a hefty price to be paid not only in all the in-app purchases, but also in the loss of a healthy view of what positive dating and social interactions look like for kids who play this game. Going on the "hottest dates," being in the "coolest cliques," and shopping for the "trendiest clothes" may seem like harmless fun at first glance. But the $99.99 "duffel bag" full of diamonds that players can buy is but one of many classy touches on this game. It also encourages gossip, parties, and shopping in order to be "cool enough" for your next date and to make sure that "other girls envy your life" and not the other way around. Dialogue on this game includes the crass: "Our generation is so self-centered," to the rude: "You're not cool enough to hang out with Taylor." If this app were billed as a parody, some might be able to find it funny. But if any kid or teen comes away with the idea that what this app sells is the way to becoming "cool" in real life, there's nothing funny about that message.
Is it any good?
SOCIAL GIRL's developers say that the app is "all about getting more friends, showing off your personal style, and being pampered by your boyfriend -- so do it all and unlock new features to become the most popular SOCIAL GIRL around!" But being friends just because you're considered "as cool" as the others isn't so cool; there's a very limited view here of what "personal style" entails; and being pampered by one's boyfriend involves dates that most teens could never actually afford. Most talk between the boy and girl characters happen in front of a bed. Friend relationships are all about who's "cool enough" to be in the clique -- which usually means who has the best clothes and gossips the most. Bottom line: This app is teen social life viewed from the point of its least common denominator. Teens -- and apps -- can do better than this.