Think it would be fun to live someone else’s life? The BitLife app guides players on a simulated life from birth to death. Players make text-based choices, which can promote safe or risky lifestyles. It’s rated for people 17 and older, but the BitLife app is wildly popular among younger users. The Smart Social team wants parents to be aware that players are exposed to many mature ideas while they play, including sex, drugs, and violence.
Apple Ranks BitLife as the 5th Most Downloaded Free Game of 2019, While CommonSense Media Calls it an App “parents should watch out for”
While kids can’t engage in actual risky behavior, BitLife exposes them to mature ideas… It’s also easy for players to become overly fixated on the idealized world of sim games.CommonSense Media
What is the BitLife app?
- The BitLife App is a simulation game
- It’s rated 17+ in the iOS App Store and on Google Play
- Anyone can download the app without verifying their age
- The app warns players that all characters and events are fictional
- Users are assigned an identity to play from birth to death
- Players make text-based choices as they age about their education, career, friends, sexuality, and lifestyle
- Each choice determines a character’s level of happiness, health, and success
- When a character dies, players are assigned a new identity (an infant character) and can restart the life cycle
One student exposed her BitLife app addiction in the student newspaper
“For days I spent playing life after life, quickly becoming more obsessed with the interactive game and itching for another fix, and even growing irritable if I didn’t play it for more than a day.”
Norristown Area High School sophomore
What users say about BitLife:
“For the most part, BitLife has developed a calm, if somewhat “I, as a 16 year old, want to warn younger kids’ parents who are looking to get this app, as it has mature themes and some violence. Although I support the app and would recommend it to my friends, parents should be cautious.”
16 year-old user on CommonSense Media
“One night stands? Sex with your step sister? Sex toys? Unplanned pregnancy? Not what I want as part of my 15 year old’s reality at all. DELETE.”
Parent on CommonSense Media
Why should parents care?
- Kids can easily get addicted to the BitLife app
- Players collect ribbons for certain milestones, which can take a long time to earn
- There are advertisements and several in-app purchases
- The game exposes users to many mature ideas such as drug use and addiction, adultery, violence, suicide, and more
- Players are often asked to make random or illegal choices, such as whether to have plastic surgery, commit a crime, or kill someone
What can parents do?
- Before giving your child access to an app, download it, spend some time using it, then determine if the app is safe for your family
- It’s important for parents to have a discussion with their kids about the Bit Life app if they ask to play it
- If you don’t want your student downloading the BitLife app without your permission, you can turn off their access to the App Store or Google Play (learn how HERE)
- You could also set time limits since many players consider the game addicting
- If you are worried your kid is addicted to BitLife or to any other game, consider having them speak to a professional for help
- When your teen is ready to use gaming and social media apps in a positive way, visit our Parent App Guide and search through our Green Zone
Smart Social’s App Review
An elementary school educator contacted Smart Social with concerns about the BitLife app. Students at her school, as young as 9 and 10, were discussing the game. The Smart Social team decided to review the app and quickly decided it belongs in our Red Zone. Watch our team’s initial reaction to the BitLife app here:
Making choices and facing consequences is part of life. The BitLife app certainly makes students think about different lifestyle choices. But are becoming a stripper, using ecstasy, and murdering a friend the types of options you want your student faced with in elementary school, middle school, or even high school?
If you need help talking with your students about using the internet in a positive way, check out Smart Social’s Digital Driver’s Ed. Our courses help parents, educators, and students learn to shine online. We make digital safety fun while getting kids to protect their online image.