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To question school allowing pupils to use apps that are age rated above the age of the kids?

(10 Posts)
Muchtoomuchtodo Tue 18-Nov-14 20:03:47

School are running an computer club after school for children in years 3 and 4.

DS has come home asking to download an app that they used at the club this week. It's rated 12+ for the following:

Infrequent/mild: sexual content and nudity, horror/fear themes, profanity or crude humour, carton or fantasy violence, mature/suggestive themes, realistic violence, simulated gambling, alcohol, tobacco or drug use references.

The app is called Video Star. The information on the App Store says that it can make, "you and your friends the stars of awesome music videos". I've checked the reviews and there's nothing of any concern, but I obviously have no idea who has written those reviews or how reliable they are.

One side of me is wondering how bad making your own music video can be, but the other is questioning the message that school are giving by letting kids as young as 7 use an app that is rated 12+

Am I over reacting? Would I BU to have a word with the teacher who runs this club (who has similar aged children)?

pauline6703 Tue 18-Nov-14 21:07:03

I'd download it and check it out myself. It might be fine but only you can judge. It is possible the teacher knows the app and knows it is fine for children of the age of your DS.

Muchtoomuchtodo Tue 18-Nov-14 22:24:31

That was a good idea in theory!

The app keeps freezing though on my antiquated iPad!

I've found some youtube tutorials which make it look harmless enough. I think a lot of the warnings might be to do with some of the lyrics on the songs which are available within the app.

I'll have a word with the teacher I think. This app looks ok from what I have seen, but it must have got its 12+ rating for a reason. It's more about the message that school are sending about children using apps that are rated above their age that is bugging me I think. If this is ok, is it also ok in their eyes for their pupils to be watching films or playing computer games which have age ratings which are older than them too?

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 18-Nov-14 22:33:16

My 10 year old uses video star. I think it's less to do with what the app contains & more to do with what it's possible to do with it eg share stuff they have made & access stuff others have made via youtube.

My two never used the sharing bit.

Printer aps are rated 12!!'

INickedAName Tue 18-Nov-14 22:35:41

I'd use the AppStore age ratings as a very loose guide. It's nothing like the certification used on DVDs etc. many of my apps claim to be for 4 and onwards when they are either inappropriate or way to advanced for a four year old to manage, on the other hand, a lot also 12 or 17 plus when they are totally fine.
I'm not 100 per cent sure, but almost certain often the age ratings on the ios App Store are set by the devs, and many set it for their target market rather than who it's suitable for. I had contact with a developer where there was mention of sex in dialogue, the actual game was fine, flappy bird type thing, but the cut scenes not, it was listed as 4+. He was able to get the rating changed.The developer was very apologetic and emails me code for every game he releases as an apology. It's best to check anything first if your unsure.
I'm a member of a ios game forum with lots of active devs, I could see if Video Star dev is on their and ask for you?

Muchtoomuchtodo Tue 18-Nov-14 23:13:20

Thanks for your posts. I assumed that the ratings held more weight than the way that it's now been explained. That changes a lot.

Yes please INickedAName that would be interesting.

AuntieStella Tue 18-Nov-14 23:23:58

Here's what Common Sense Media has to say

Headline is: Great tool for creating music videos; some sharing concerns.

INickedAName Wed 19-Nov-14 00:37:00

I'll check tomorrow morning and pm you if I get anywhere.

Dd told me they use this app in her school too, she's year five but said some children are year one in computer club.

I've contacted apple on a few occasions when an app has been listed for children and it's had violence or dodgy content and all that happened is I'm given a refund and the app age rating remains unchanged.

INickedAName Wed 19-Nov-14 12:02:35

I've had a couple of emails from app developers (not video star yet though) and they all say the same thing. The app developer has to declare what the app contains when submitting to apple, things such as swearing, violence, nudity gambling etc. Apple then set the age rating, but don't actually check/play all the games, they get thousands of new games and apps to review each so don't go through each one. So it comes down to the devs interpretation of the key words.
So you could have a Mario/sonic type game, in which you can take a risk and double or nothing the coins you have collected after finish a level. The dev who made the game could see this as gambling or jumping on the baddies heads as violence, apple would set the rating at 17 or whatever, whereas another dev making a very similar game won't see it as gambling or violence so it could get set as 4+ depending on the other content.
It varies from dev to dev and also on the apple staff member who is approving the game. One of the developers who emailed me said Video Stars rating most likely comes from what the user can create, such as swearing rap style videos and the sharing aspect, I always check anything before handing it to dd as it's very easy for inappropriate content to slip through, it's also easy for her to miss out on a lot of great apps because of a too high rating.

Hope that made sense lol. It did in my head.

Muchtoomuchtodo Wed 19-Nov-14 19:55:43

Yes that's very useful. Thank you.

I've played with it a bit myself and it seems harmless enough. The songs that come free with it are all fine as far as I can see.

I've let ds play with it on the understanding that he doesn't use the 'share' function (which he didn't know about - doh!) and only uses it when I am around.

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