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While there have been a lot of games in our house since the pandemic began, no game has quite gripped my family like Among Us. This easy, free to download game, launched in 2018, has grown to HUGE during this pandemic as more people find it out through word of mouth and social media.

What makes Among Us so perfect right now is that it’s a fun type of game to figure out as you go, and it doesn’t last forever like a game of Monopoly (thrill). As an adult, this is ideal when you only have a few minutes to play between work calls or before bed. My kids love it because they can spend an entire evening playing against their friends when they can’t date indoors.

And, it’s so popular that even people love AOC bring people together to play online.

But the big question for parents is how old do children have to be to play this game and are there ways to make it as safe as possible for innocent eyes?

So read on and let me walk you through the game, its safety, and age appropriate, so you can decide if it’s okay for your kids to play.

Related: Are My Kids Spending Too Much Time on Video Games During Forties? We asked a video game expert.

Among us: the premise

Among Us has a fairly simple premise: a group of 4-10 cartoon players are together on a spaceship or base and have to make the necessary repairs so that they can return to civilization. But, there’s a catch: The group of teammates has been infiltrated by at least one ruthless alien impostor whose only mission is to kill as many teammates as possible before getting caught.

The purpose of the crew? Repair the spaceship and don’t get killed. But also, teammates must work together to find out who the impostor is so they can kick them out of the game before they sabotage the spaceship or kill everyone. These group decisions regarding the identity of the impostor are made in a rudimentary chat room where the crew members vote on who to launch the spaceship. Choose wisely or you can still have an innocent member of your crew in deep space while leaving the impostor free to kill again.

All of this ‘kill’ talk might sound pretty blunt, but it’s not Grand Theft Auto. The murders among us are quite cartoonish and tame, although I agree with the app’s rating for ages 9 and up, which is a good place to start for parents to consider, depending on the sensitivity of your children.

The games can be public or private. To participate in a private game, you need to use a 6-digit code to access it, a great option for a party of up to 10 friends who just want to play together. A public game is open to anyone who wants to play it. In order to have a chance to win against my expert children, I participated in public games for weeks to train; there are plenty of games open any time of the day or night.

Among us: gameplay as a teammate

Once everyone has joined the game, your own screen will let you know if you are a teammate or an impostor. If you’re a teammate, take a look at the map in the corner of your screen and start running to repair the spaceship or base as quickly as possible. The tasks are super easy, like flipping the levers, filling the gas cylinders, and connecting the colored wires. Often times a big flashing yellow arrow will appear on your screen to lead you to your next tasks, which is useful for someone like me who gets lost IRL.

As you figure out how to move from, say, the electrical bay to the storage room, you need to pay attention to your cohorts. Who is running next to you, trying to get their next chores done? Who’s just hanging around, waiting for a room to free up so they can strike and kill a teammate? And, wait, did the impostor just try to sabotage the ship? Hurry up and find out who it is!

If you are killed? Don’t quit the game and don’t worry! One of the best things about Among Us is that teammates can return as ghosts who continue to help their teammates by completing their tasks.

Among us: gameplay like an impostor

If you are chosen as the impostor, your objective is to kill the teammates without getting caught. At first it may not seem that difficult as teammates are so focused on completing the different tasks they need to complete. (Impostors have no tasks other than “killing teammates”) And, with a big spaceship, it’s not too difficult to be alone with an unlucky teammate, kill them and then run away from the evidence. To aid them in their escapade, impostors have the ability to squeeze through vents to move from one part of the map to another; teammates cannot do this.

Be careful though! Step out of a vent in front of an unsuspecting teammate and your cover is blown! Imposters need to be stealthy while having a few tricks up their sleeve: Imposters have the ability to try and sabotage the game by turning off the lights, leaving teammates with only a narrow beam of light to guide them. Or turn off the oxygen and wait for teammates to scramble to turn it back on before it runs out.

If you kill someone, leave the area QUICKLY because as soon as the body is discovered, an emergency meeting will be called in the chat room to discuss possible killers. This is where impostors should feign innocence or even cast doubt on another teammate. If the crew decides to vote and the impostor is singled out, they will win the game. Otherwise, an innocent can be kicked out, giving the impostor another chance to kill more teammates.

Related: Are The Video Games Your Kids Love Safe For Them? We can help.

Among Us: Concerns for Parents

Aside from some very light computer graphics of murder as well as the tension that comes with trying to avoid getting caught or killed, Among Us is pretty benign for just about all tweens and up. We played private games with my sister’s family outside where we can just talk to each other rather than trying to use the chat feature, and it’s fun and hilarious. And my teens like to get groups of friends together to play virtually, which is a great way to feel connected during those colder months.

However, where Among Us can become problematic is when kids join in public games or even private games with people they don’t know well. When this happens, you need to be aware of what is going on in the chat area. Although the game has a robust blocking tool that prevents swear words and vulgar words from reaching the chat room, players can get picky and beat the system and can even choose usernames for their avatar which are not very innocent. During one of my very first public games, I saw a series of pretty shocking racist comments from a player who removed vowels from words to make sure they missed the chat blocker. This player has been kicked from the game by the host – the only person who can remove an offender without a vote – but I wish there was an easy way to report it and block it from future games.

Keep in mind, however, that in-game chat lasts for a very short time while players debate who to kick out. It’s hard to be overly aggressive or offensive in such a short amount of time, and the blocking tool does a good job of keeping things clean enough. And while I know parents are concerned that kids would be drawn to sketchy adults to give out personal information, it would be difficult to make that kind of connection during the time you spend in the chat area.

From a consumerism perspective, Among Us is a free-to-play game, but after each game is completed, an ad will run, often for another video game. Players can pay to upgrade to the ad-free version for a few dollars.

Among us: how to make it safer for children to play

The best way to make sure your kids aren’t exposed to potentially inappropriate discussions is to insist that they only play private games with people they know and trust. That doesn’t mean they have to play with their boring parents though! Share your game code with cousins ​​across the country and play “live” with them. Or let your kids invite a group of trusted friends to play together from their homes after class is over.

If your child is playing through an online streaming service such as Twitch, insist that they play sound through the computer speakers, not headphones, so you can hear what is being said. You can also ban LiveStreaming games if you are not comfortable with it.

But be aware that even if you allow your child to play private games, there is no way to turn off or turn off public play access, so if your kids are curious or even a little sneaky, they may find it helpful. ways to play with the public. If this is of concern to you, it’s probably best to wait to let them play until they’re old enough that they can process what they may come across in terms of chat and know how to quit those games immediately.

Even if that means they won’t be able to play with AOC for a few years.

Among Us by Innersloth is available for iOS, Google Play, and Steam.

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