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Joanne Mallon writer
Joanne Mallon Author, parent, blogger Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, UK

There’s a new app in town, and it could prove costly – Bingo Friendzy is the first Facebook app to allow players to gamble with real money. It’s also designed in a very kid-friendly style, so you’d do well to keep an eye on it.

Whilst it needs a registered debit or credit card to play – and you haven’t given your kids those details, right? (Right?!) – it has unnervingly child-friendly cartoon styling, with characters looking a lot like the Puffles of Club Penguin, with a passing resemblance to Moshi Monsters thrown in.

Bingo Friendzy can currently only be seen by Facebook members in the UK, and is only playable by members aged 18 and over. But how practical is this? The Facebook age limit is supposed to be 13, but that seems to be ignored by many people.

The danger with this game is that it pitches gambling in a cute and cuddly context, with appealing characters that make it all seem like fun rather than a potential pocket emptier. And for a child who’s yet to earn their own money, how much understanding will they have of the potential to build up debt?

So if you do allow your child to use Facebook, when you’re advising caution about who they connect with, caution about which games they play is advisable too. Not everything that’s cute and fluffy is harmless – remember Gremlins?

Do you allow your child to play games on Facebook? What do you think of Bingo Friendzy?

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