KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Freshmen Eliana, Parker and Grady have all heard of a video game character named Huggy Wuggy.

Parker described him as “blue, his head is in the shape of a heart”.

“Oh, and he hugs you until your head pops…then he eats you,” Grady added.

If that doesn’t sound like a kid-focused character, it’s because Huggy Wuggy, who debuted in 2021, is part of an adult survival horror video game called “poppy play time.”

MOB Games released “Poppy Playtime” Chapter 1 in 2021 and it was instantly popular, leading to spin-off videos on YouTube, TikTok, and other apps featuring the game’s characters.

The creators of these spin-off videos offered their own interpretations of how the character might act or what he might say. The creators are write songs in Huggy Wuggy’s voice, including one with the lines, “sharp teeth leave you bloody…hold me till you die.”

These videos, and the ideas they represent, have spilled over into the playground. Parker, Eliana, and Grady said they and their classmates played games where they acted out what Huggy Wuggy could do.

There are no reports of anything violent happening as a result of these games. The students mostly focused on cuddling, but Parker said he had nightmares featuring the blue, long-legged, sharp-toothed character.

“My mum saw it and she was very serious about it. … She looked for it because I had a nightmare. … I didn’t know it was about Huggy Wuggy because it was on a game, on Roblox there was this creepy guy, but I didn’t know who it was, until the next day I went to school and everyone explained who he is,” Parker said.

“Children have very active imaginations – monsters in the closet, monsters under the bed,” said Hannah Reed, a children’s therapist at Wedgwood Christian Services. “Giving this monster a name and a face, while turning hugs into something bad, scary or dangerous…children need physical contact, reassurance, warm support and nurturing. a character that turns hugs into something that could hurt or kill you is a problem.”

Reed said it’s important not to dismiss a child’s fears about a character like this or anything else, but rather to validate how they feel and approach topics like these with curiosity.

“Say, ‘Yeah, that sounds really scary, I wouldn’t want that for you either. What can we do to maybe protect you and make you feel more comfortable and confident?’ she explained.

She also recommended doing more closet and under-bed monster surveys to help kids know you’re supporting how they’re feeling and will be there when they’re scared.

“Minimizing a child’s feelings is usually going to make him say, ‘OK, well, maybe I shouldn’t talk about my fears so much because he really doesn’t understand me,'” she said. .

Elements of the Huggy Wuggy character have appeared in places where many parents feel safe for their children, including YouTube Kids and Roblox, though in most of those cases he is in a non-violent form.

“Ultimately, your child is going to encounter things online that you wouldn’t want them to encounter as a parent. Either way, I think an important foundation is just to start conversations with your child, to really nurture and nurture that relationship so that the child feels comfortable coming to you and telling you about the scary thing they saw on YouTube,” Reed said.

Indie developer MOB Games originally released “Poppy Playtime” in October 2021 on PC and released a mobile version of the game in March 2022.

Zach Belanger is the CEO of MOB Games, and was quoted in an interview with FOX2now saying “Poppy Playtime” is suitable for players aged eight and up. The App Store currently lists the game as 12+, while the Google Play Store lists it for teens.

When asked if they thought the game was acceptable to them, Eliana, Parker and Grady all replied, “No!”

MOB games announced on Twitter the company has partnered with Studio 71 to create a feature film called “Poppy Playtime”, which will include viral character Huggy Wuggy and other characters from the video game. The company said it is still in development and there is no release date for this film yet.

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