What is Kick the Buddy?

It can be difficult to keep up with the apps that your children use every day on their smartphones and tablets.

Kick the Buddy is a game which first became popular a few years ago. But since its release, it has been raising concerns among some parents.

Whether or not you decide to let your child play Kick the Buddy, it’s important to have all the facts.

a person looks down at an app on their phone

What is it?

  • Kick the Buddy is an app available on Apple App store and Google Play.
  • The makers of the game say it is a way to relieve stress.
  • Players use weapons on a puppet-like figure until the cartoon faints, explodes or dies.
  • The official description of the game is:
    “Explode, destroy, fire, shoot, smash, freeze, send the power of the Gods and don’t even think about stopping! Man, you now have a virtually limitless arsenal to beat: rockets, grenades, automatic rifles … and even a NUCLEAR BOMB! We present to you Kick the Buddy — it’s more than just a game! It’s a top interactive action game! STRESS RELIEF IN A SECOND!”
  • The PEGI age restriction for Kick the Buddy is 7 and up, due to “non-realistic violence”.

Why are some parents concerned?

Every parent needs to make their own decision about what is appropriate for their child. Some parents have expressed concerns about this particular game.

  • Hidden costs. Kick the Buddy is free with a 3-day trial. It then offers subscriptions and in-app purchases which range from £1.09 to £83.99. These include removing adverts and buying ‘gold’ to spend in the app.
  • Depictions of violence. Parents have expressed that the game might be too violent for their child. Issues include the wide range of injury-inflicting implements which players can use. Meanwhile, the Buddy flops around, shouting in pain and begging the player to stop. Blood ON! is a paid-for add-on which unlocks realistic blood effects for when users ‘attack’ the Buddy.
  • Uploading photos. Extra features include the ability to put a photo of a friend or family member onto the Buddy’s body.

What have reviews said?

  • “Unintended in-game purchases could cost you a lot money without your knowledge. Somehow, with Kick the Buddy, we racked up well over a hundred pounds in in-game purchases after she played for less than an hour.” commonsensemedia.org
  • “I know it’s just a doll, but I don’t like seeing my 8-year-old stab and kick anything – even in a cartoon.” wezift.com
  • “It’s just ugly the way you can torture this character and it begs you to stop. The ways you can abuse it escalate.” commonsensemedia.org
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