Kid on a laptop, Poppy Playtime logo, Wi-Fi shield logo and a padlock
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A Quick Summary: Is Poppy Playtime Safe for Kids?

Poppy Playtime is a game with heart-pounding horror themes that’s set in a toy factory. It has grown very popular among both adults and children. The question is: should you let your kids play it?

There are various concerns from professionals, parents, and children when it comes to Poppy Playtime:

  • Poppy Playtime can induce anxiety, since a big part of the game is based on the player being chased.
  • The jump scares that are a major part of the Poppy Playtime story can be scary for children.
  • The game contains a few violent moments, such as the deaths of some of the monsters, which isn’t suitable for all children.
  • Some children might find that playing Poppy Playtime interferes with their sleep due to nightmares and having trouble falling asleep.
  • With any game, there is always a risk of gaming addiction.

Whether or not Poppy Playtime is safe, depends on your children. If they can handle scary content and don’t have trouble differentiating between what’s real and what’s fiction, they will likely be fine. If they are already anxious and tend to get frightened quickly, this game is not good for them.

Do you want to learn more about Poppy Playtime and whether or not it’s appropriate for your kids? Read the complete article below.

Poppy Playtime is all the rage these days, even among children. Many parents won’t even think twice about this, assuming it’s a kid-friendly game. After all, how bad can a game that takes place in a toy factory be? Although it seems innocent, this popular game is not what it seems. Let’s just say that the ads for Huggy Wuggy, the game’s antagonist, aren’t lying when they say he’ll “squeeze you until you pop!”

It might not sound like it, but Poppy Playtime is a horror game that can be pretty scary. In this article, we’ll answer the question on many parents’ minds: is Poppy Playtime safe for children?

What is Poppy Playtime?

Poppy Playtime logo small

Poppy Playtime is a free game available for Windows, iOS, and Android. This indie survival horror game has become quite popular since its release: it’s owned by up to 5 million gamers, according to gaming analyst SteamSpy.

Currently, two chapters of the game have been released. Many expect the game’s developer, MOB Games, to release Poppy Playtime Chapter 3 sometime in 2023. The first chapter is free to play, whereas Chapter 2 costs $9.99 at the time of writing.

The premise of this game is that you’re a former employee of “Playtime Co.,” an abandoned toy factory. After ten years, you return to your former workplace. Soon it becomes clear this won’t be a pleasant trip filled with nostalgia: the toys in the factory are alive and hostile toward the player. Your goal? Escape without getting caught while you unravel the mystery of Playtime Co.

Here comes Huggy Wuggy

One of the most frightening toys is Chapter 1’s main antagonist, Huggy Wuggy. An experiment in toymaking gone wrong, Huggy Wuggy is part stuffed animal and part player-hunting monster. This blue ball of fur comes with razor-sharp teeth and chases you throughout the factory, even if he seems perfectly friendly when you first see him.

Screenshot of Poppy Playtime game

To beat the game, the player has to solve puzzles and use special tools, such as two mechanical hands on metal poles, to make their way through the toy factory. This doesn’t come without dangers, though. If a player isn’t fast enough, Huggy Wuggy (or another scary toy) will catch and kill them.

Since this antagonist is such a recognizable character, you might also hear your children refer to the game as “Huggy Wuggy Poppy Playtime.” Alternatively, they might just mention “Huggy Wuggy” when talking about the game.

Risks: Is Poppy Playtime Safe for Kids?

Not every child is the same. Some content might be perfectly fine for one 10-year-old, while another is completely shaken by it. While we can’t say what will work for your kid specifically, we can show you what Poppy Playtime looks like, as well as what kind of risks research, studies, and reviews from parents and kids alike have pointed out.

While age will certainly be a factor, it’s ultimately up to you to decide if you think your child can handle the game. Here are some concerns that have popped up time and again on how Poppy Playtime can affect kids.

Infographic showing is Poppy Playtime safe for kids

1. Increasing anxiety

You might think it’s the creepy toys that will make young kids (and, let’s be honest, adults) anxious, but that’s not what we’re referring to here. Instead, we’re talking about the general setup of the game. The gamer is being chased by something that wants to kill them, without knowing when and where the danger will appear. That’s enough for many to experience anxiety.

In its online safety review of the game, the Ineqe Safeguarding Group, an organization in Northern Ireland that specializes in children’s online and offline safety, states that this state of anxiousness might impact a child’s development.

“Children and young people are still growing and learning. They may not be at a level of emotional maturity that would be able to process frightening content, even if it is intentional,” the review states. “Horror games could hamper that growth by creating unnecessary anxiety and stress.”

2. Jump scares

Any possible anxiety is likely worsened by the multiple jump scares that players will experience. Sometimes Huggy Wuggy appears out of nowhere. When he catches you, he latches on to you, baring his sharp teeth.

Many reviews on Common Sense Media support the idea that Poppy Playtime can distress children and affect them mentally. One parent even mentions that their child is in therapy because of the game. They also stated they know others in the same position.

Even many of the children’s reviews we read mentioned that the game is too scary. The things that affected kids the most were the jump scares and the feeling of being chased.

3. Violence

Poppy Playtime doesn’t actually show that much violence. It’s more about the implication of what will happen to the player once they’re caught. Nevertheless, some scenes display violent or shocking content. For instance, while players make their way through the game’s toy factory setting, they can see blood spattered on walls and floors.

A more extreme example of violence appears at the end of Chapter 2, when the protagonist has to (spoiler!) kill a monster called Mommy Long Legs by switching on a grinder. The machine essentially swallows Mommy Long Legs while the monster screams “What have you done?” During this animation, the monster is visibly suffering and eventually gets cut in half. This scene is quite gruesome, especially for young players.

When browsing Poppy Playtime reviews on Common Sense Media, we noticed a clear difference between parents’ and children’s thoughts on the violence. Parents seem to think the game involves a lot of violence, whereas kids only seemed affected by the horror elements. Most of them didn’t find the game particularly brutal or graphically violent.

4. Sleep interference

A particular problem with any scary game is that it can affect a child’s sleeping pattern. Kids might get scared to go to bed after playing a scary game. Moreover, they might have trouble falling asleep or suffer from nightmares.

According to the Sleep Foundation, children from 6-13 years old need 9-11 hours of sleep per day. Multiple other studies have shown that the development of children’s bodies and brains mainly takes place while they are sleeping. Needless to say, you don’t want a scary game to interfere with your child’s sleeping and development.

5. Gaming addiction

Playing a chapter of Poppy Playtime usually doesn’t take very long: between half an hour and two hours. However, the risk of gaming addiction is present with any game, whether that be Poppy Playtime or a different platform like Minecraft. With Poppy Playtime being quite the rage, it’s very easy for kids to become obsessed with the game. They might end up playing it over and over again or turning to other games in the survival horror genre, like Five Nights At Freddy’s.

Gaming addiction is a serious and growing problem worldwide. Although it might seem innocent at first, it can result in chronic stress and, in time, patterns of poor personal hygiene and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Although most children will be able to find a balance between online gaming and real life (if with a little help from parents), gaming addiction remains a risk.

How Do Kids Hear About Poppy Playtime?

Exclamation mark in a trianglePoppy Playtime can be found on Steam, a popular gaming platform. If your kid doesn’t have a Steam account, they might not be able to play the game directly. That doesn’t mean they haven’t heard about it, however. There are other ways in which younger audiences might learn about Poppy Playtime and Huggy Wuggy, both offline and online.

Roblox

Roblox LogoRoblox is a gaming platform mainly used by children. On Roblox, you can find a lot of unofficial versions of Poppy Playtime. Most of these games are not made by game studios, but by users of the platform. That’s the power of Roblox: anyone can create and upload a game, so anyone can make their own version of Poppy Playtime.

Although the graphics of Roblox games aren’t great by any stretch, many of these games feature the same core elements: toy monsters that want to kill you. If your child plays one of these games, they’ll learn about the original game soon enough.

YouTube

YouTube LogoEven if your children don’t have access to Roblox, they might watch YouTube videos about Poppy Playtime. A lot of influencers stream or record themselves while playing. They’ll then upload the footage on video-sharing platforms like YouTube.

A video like this might show their gameplay (how a player experienced the game). A so-called walkthrough could help viewers complete the game themselves or help potential buyers decide whether they want to buy the game. In some cases, a YouTuber might upload a video to show how they responded to the scariest moments.

Through these videos, kids can easily be exposed to Poppy Playtime and the monsters the game features.

School and friends

Blue monster with raised hands iconPoppy Playtime isn’t just big on the internet: it has become a hype in classrooms as well. Because of the popularity of the game, your child will likely first hear about it from classmates. Their friends might play the game or know about Huggy Wuggy and tell your kid all about it, making them want to participate in the hype, too.

For younger children, especially, Huggy Wuggy is a popular figure. This character was turned into a stuffed toy and distributed worldwide. Our writers have seen nieces and nephews (some of them just six years old) carrying around differently-colored versions of Huggy Wuggy. Amazon sells the toys, and even local markets and carnivals store them in big numbers.

Despite the creature’s sharp teeth, younger children don’t seem to consider Huggy Wuggy scary. They’ll sleep with the toy next to them or even dress it up in doll’s clothes. This is all rather innocent: just another stuffed animal for your kid to play with. It does, however, give them another opportunity to learn about the Poppy Playtime horror game.

Poppy Playtime Age Rating

Age restrictions 13 plus iconConsidering the popularity of an indie horror game like Poppy Playtime among children, you might wonder what its suggested age rating is. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule here. Different organizations and platforms have different age ratings for this game.

Even the official Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store don’t seem to agree: while the App Store gives Poppy Playtime a 12+ rating, Google Play says it’s suitable for “Teens,” meaning 13 years and older.

There are many more organizations that have given a recommended Poppy Playtime age rating. You’ll find these in the table below.

Platform/organizationAge ratingExplanation (if required)
ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board)13 years and olderThe ESRB is an independent organization that evaluates the contents of video games and assigns age ratings to them. They operate in the United States and Canada.
PEGI (Pan European Game Information)12 years and olderPEGI is essentially the European equivalent of the ESRB. They give age ratings to video games and operate in 38 European countries.
MOB Games8 years and olderIndie developer MOB Games is the developer of Poppy Playtime.
SteamIt’s not mandatory for digital content to carry an ESRB or PEGI rating. That’s why many games, including Poppy Playtime, don’t carry an age rating on Steam.
Common Sense Media12+Common Sense Media is a US-based non-profit organization that educates children and parents on all kinds of media, writes reviews, and gives age ratings for media.

It’s especially interesting to see that, out of all of these recommendations, the official developer of Poppy Playtime has the lowest age rating, setting the limit at eight years and older. Most external parties don’t agree and set the age limit higher than that.

Conclusion: Is Poppy Playtime Suitable For Your Kids?

Poppy Playtime could certainly have some adverse effects on a young audience, though different kids handle frightening content in different ways. What might be anxiety-inducing for one, can simply be laughed off by another.

Regardless, there are some common risks that parents, kids, and researchers agree on:

  • The horror elements and feeling of being chased can increase children’s anxiety.
  • The game includes a few violent scenes, which may be startling to players.
  • Jump scares are a common theme throughout the game and can be especially anxiety-inducing.
  • The game could interfere with your child’s sleep pattern.
  • Too much exposure to any game, including Poppy Playtime, can result in gaming addiction.

Many concerned parents will err on the side of caution and consider the official ESRB rating of 13 year old as the bare minimum to play Poppy Playtime. Of course, others will think the game is all good frightening fun. Since you know your child best, you might want to scope out some YouTube clips to gauge for yourself whether it’s too scary or just a video game like any other.

Are you interested in reading more about online safety for children? Then we recommend checking out the articles below:

Poppy Playtime: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a specific question about Poppy Playtime? Check out our FAQ down below! If you can’t find an answer to your question, feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

What is Poppy Playtime?

Poppy Playtime is a virtual survival-horror game that takes place in an abandoned toy factory. Gamers soon realize that the old toys in the factory have come to life and mean to catch and kill the player. You’ll have to solve puzzles to escape. The most popular monster in the game is called Huggy Wuggy.

Is Poppy Playtime child-friendly?

Opinions vary, but many parents claim that Poppy Playtime is not child-friendly. The game features a lot of horror elements, such as getting chased by monsters and intense jump scares. It also features some violent moments. Check out our full guide to see if Poppy Playtime is safe for your children.

Why is Poppy Playtime so popular with kids?

Likely there are two main reasons for this game’s popularity among kids:

  • Poppy Playtime features many toys and stuffed animals that now exist in real life as well. Many children have their own Huggy Wuggy stuffed toy, for example. As a result, kids might automatically become interested in the online game.
  • Popular YouTubers and other online influencers have published videos in which they play the game, introducing it to their audience and inviting them to play it, too.
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  1. Jack C

    Great article explaining the dangers. I personally can’t understand why this is marketed for children and sold in toys stores.

    My son has had many jump scares from finding videos on YouTube. We have now blocked as many poppy playtime videos as we can and are making sure he is t watching any of it anymore!!

    • Priscilla Sherman VPNOverview.com

      Very understandable! Poppy Playtime is such a strange phenomenon. It’s fine if kids get the Huggy Wuggy doll and can enjoy it in its own terms, without getting scared, but it’s so tricky since the videos and the game itself can be so scary. I hope your son is doing okay and can enjoy more age-appropriate games and toys instead!

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