He Hugs You to Death
Is Huggy Wuggy too Scary for Kids?
by brad Kava
It was supposed to be a cultural trip to San Francisco, and it was, until we passed some flea market booths near the wharf.
There, Parker saw what became his obsession—a Huggy Wuggy backpack.
Normally, I monitor what he watches, but this one escaped me. It sounded so innocent, and so what if Huggy Wuggy looked a bit monstrous—the Muppets are also monsters of a sort.
“You know he’s a serial killer,” Parker asked after we’d negotiated our way around several booths that were loaded with the blue character backpack and found one for $15.
“He chases people and kills them. But don’t worry. He’s not scary.”
The game is described by its creators: “Set in an abandoned 1990s toy factory, game players confront Huggy Wuggy, Mommy Long Legs, and other toy characters while solving puzzles and working to survive in the creepy setting.”
I decided to throw it out to parents on the Growing Up in Santa Cruz Facebook page and got a variety of answers, you’ll see below.
I also did some research on the Interwebs and found out Huggy is a character in the Poppy Playtime games, which were part of the first game created by an enterprising team at Enchanted Mob and is an international breakout. You can find Huggy and friends all over the world and it has been searched more than 2 billion times, but not without some controversy.
Some think the innocently named characters are deceptive and fool parents into letting children who are too young get involved in a horror game, where, as its theme song says, Huggy will “squeeze you till you pop.”
While the game itself is fairly timid, police who monitor kids on the internet are concerned that fan-made videos using the same characters are way too much for kids, who will stumble on them doing basic searches.
“Due to the name of the character, these videos are often ‘slipping through the net’ of platforms’ safeguarding measures like content filtering and age-restrictions,” warn police officials in Dorset, U.K. They warn that it has inspired playground violence.
Teen Gamer Response
by brad Kava
When discussing survival-horror games or horror games in general, the majority of it all leads back to one franchise that blew up the whole survival-horror scene.
Five Nights at Freddie’s was originally released on August 8th, 2014. With the use of phenomenal sound design to seemingly simple and easy controls, that managed to flesh out the game to still be horrifying yet marketable.
Without getting too much into the details of Scott Cawthon’s career or the franchise, he managed to take his failed past attempts at children’s video games, which were scrutinized for his terrifying style, and made a success with the phenomenon that is Five Nights at Freddie’s.
With all of that success, like most games, Five Nights at Freddie’s has plenty of communal issues, from the outrageous amount of low-effort fan games, to the childish community. But a lot of the hate these communities get comes down to the over-commercialization of horror games, which directly results from what made the games so popular in the first place. Kids obviously gravitate towards bright stuff, and YouTubers gravitate towards big trends, hence why young kids are exposed to so much of this.
A lot of the content aimed at kids takes games like these and effectively compresses them, and content creators milk that content as much as they can. With all of this shoved down your child’s ears, you’re destined to come across backpacks, or shirts; it’s the same thing repeated across the industry time and time again.
If that all clears up where games like ‘Poppy Playtime’ comes from and why they’re so big, I’ve said enough.
Teen Gamer Response
When I first saw children playing Huggy Wuggy on the playground at school, it looked so innocent. Until a few months later, I had two brothers begin to act out very aggressively at recess. After investigating the root cause of this change in behavior, it all lead back to the unsupervised amount of time viewing of Huggy Wuggy. It’s a terrible & sneaky way of luring young children into a furry character that is not friendly and wants their last breath! I’m glad someone is going to write an article about this!
I think parents are having to work harder to make ends meet in these trying times and so they are not able to monitor kids the way they were in the 90s and 00s, hence the kids get exposed to content that was there before but was out of their reach.
Honestly if you are a parent and you are concerned you have to either live with no games, or buy your kid different games, Zoo tycoon is non violent and very enjoyable.
5 year olds pretend to play these characters. It makes me insane that some parents have no idea what they are allowing their children to play with.
Just know what you’re getting into–do a little research. Online games are more up to player interpretation, like roblox. Offline games are more strictly defined by the game’s publishers. Otherwise, dependent upon age of course, be ready to talk to your kids about real life things. You can’t shelter them forever, and in fact talking to them and letting them think about it with you might build trust and respect
Omg, my son is in love with Huggy wuggy. He asked me to get kissy missy too.
I will fight to bring them down and these kinds of things taken down
My kids (6 and 8) love poppy playtime. Yeah it’s creepy but it’s not as crazy violent as everyone is saying. Make sure you take time to see what your kids are playing and if you don’t like it, restrict it. I’ve watched poppy playtime with my kids and I’m fine with it. I loved horror when I was a kid.
My nephew, 7 has the Huggy Wuggy Stuffy. His mom and momma don’t have a problem with him having it. I’ve seen all the characters, and he is well aware that they are not real and not scary. They are just a phase, like that one game everyone was so crazy about; the one with the giant Korean Doll shooting people. Some kids I know went to school that year as some of the characters for Halloween. We can’t shelter children these days. Today’s society is much different from when most of us were growing up. Then life was simple and safe. We played outside until the street lights came on. We sat down, as a family, for meals and spent time watching tv as a family, whether it was a movie night on tv, or a favorite tv show. Children of this century spend all day on their phones, tablets, laptops, and video game consoles; some are even lucky enough to own a Nintendo Switch with games. It is hard to get them to go outside without them complaining about it being too hot or that there is nothing to do. They want, want, want monetary things, without consideration on how much/ expensive things are. My nephew, 7, always wants Mcdonald’s and Yes, my mom; his Nana always gives in, every time. Kids these days are very spoiled and very disrespectful.