A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Stop - Categories Word Game is a word puzzle game that shows a lot of ads. In addition to banner ads, commercials pop up in between rounds, and many encourage the download of other game-based apps. As long as other users don't submit responses that involve sexually inappropriate or violent phrases, kids shouldn't be exposed to anything offensive when playing. Users can also easily chat with each other, though, seemingly without any restrictions. Since kids can choose to be paired with strangers in matches, that can be a concern; user profiles don't contain any identifiable information, though -- kids would have to willingly give that out to be at risk.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
STOP - CATEGORIES WORD GAME pits kids against their friends or random opponents. After spinning a wheel to get a letter, they then need to come up with words that start with that letter related to five prompts, such as bad habits or music styles. Each correct answer is worth a star; misspelled ones that are 75 percent correct are worth half a star. Their opponent has to finish in the same amount of time or less. Whoever enters the highest number of correct words in the least amount of time wins the round; win three, and you'll win the match.
Is it any good?
This word game is a fun way to test your vocabulary skills, but unfortunately, the chat feature can expose players to a lot of unwanted comments from other people. Kids get some choices -- arguably one too many -- in Stop - Categories Word Game, which is a fun-to-play word challenge. They can spend the two coins they've earned to spin the wheel again if they don't like the first letter they get, or spend one coin to shuffle the mix of categories. Unfortunately, they can also choose to chat with other players they don't know, which can potentially present a safety risk.
There are a couple of other small drawbacks -- opponents may not immediately complete their next round, and as a result, matches can take days to finish, which could frustrate players. It's also unclear if essentially any response to some of the more subjective prompts, such as 'I lost my ...' and 'things that shouldn't exist,' would be acceptable. A few categories also contain grammatical mistakes, such as Oscar-nominated actor lacking the hyphen between the first two words. Those issues generally don't detract from Stop - Categories Word Game being an enjoyable way to practice and use your vocabulary skills, though. The chat function is the biggest concern -- players don't really need to talk to each other to complete matches; the developers could easily remove the feature and make playing the game much safer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about appropriate screen time limits. How much time is too much time to spend using an app, even if it's a game that provides some educational value?
Stop - Categories Word Game is easier to play if you have an extensive vocabulary. What's the most recent word your child encountered that was unfamiliar? Look up its meaning together and talk about how to find definitions to words you don't know.