Is your child a fan of video games? Have you heard of the massively popular game Animal Crossing, but aren’t sure if it’s suitable for your children? It’s normal to be cautious about letting your children play video games. Let’s look at what Animal Crossing is, and how to make sure your kids stay safe while they are gaming.
If you want more information about gaming in general, check out the GoHenry guide to gaming.
What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons?
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the games in the Animal Crossing game series, developed and published by Nintendo. While other Animal Crossing games are available on games consoles such as the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Gamecube, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is only available on the Nintendo Switch.
Since its release in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a massively popular game. Kids and adults alike enjoy Animal Crossing because it is a very calming and easy-going game. Rather than fighting or racing, the focus is on simpler pursuits.
How does Animal Crossing work?
Animal Crossing is a social simulation game where players design their own island town and interact with the residents. Players can decorate their house, visit the town shops, plant flowers and crops, go fishing, catch bugs and more. Animal Crossing is a game with very gentle gameplay and has become very popular with all kinds of gamers.
In Animal Crossing, players can unlock more buildings, decorations and items for their town by collecting an in-game currency called Bells. Bells are earned when players sell items, such as the fish they catch, or plants they grow. Bells are earned in-game, not with real money.
What is the Animal Crossing age rating?
Animal Crossing has a PEGI age rating of 3. This means that it is suitable for children aged 3 and over. The age rating of 3 is the lowest age rating in the PEGI rating system since children younger than 3 are not likely to understand video games. According to the PEGI website, an age rating of 3 shows that a game will not contain any sounds or pictures that are likely to frighten young children. It is very unlikely to find inappropriate language or content within a PEGI 3-rated game.
Age ratings are very important because they show what games or other content should be suitable for your children. While most games have age ratings, you might want to use your own judgement to decide what's appropriate for your child. Check out the GoHenry guide to age limits to get a better understanding of how this ranking system works.
Animal Crossing has a low age rating because the focus of the game is on subjects such as farming and building, rather than fighting. It is a peaceful game with no sense of threat.
Is Animal Crossing a multiplayer game?
Yes, Animal Crossing: New Horizons does feature a multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is available via both local play and online play – that is, your child can play Animal Crossing with their friends if they are next to each other, or over the internet. For local multiplayer, up to four players can play together. For online multiplayer, up to eight people can play at once. Using online multiplayer means you need a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Multiplayer in Animal Crossing means that people can visit each other’s island towns. One of the biggest appeals of the multiplayer mode is that it allows people to see the island towns that their friends have built. Multiplayer also lets people trade items, go fishing, and bring new items to the island, such as exotic fruit.
Local multiplayer is very safe because only the people nearby will be able to come to your island. However, even when playing online, you can select the ‘all my friends!’ setting, which only lets people on the Nintendo Switch friends list visit. This is a great way to make sure that your children do not end up playing with strangers.
Is Animal Crossing safe for kids?
Animal Crossing is a safe game for kids to play. If you ignore the multiplayer mode and only play the main game, there is virtually nothing that would be unsuitable for children – hence the PEGI 3 rating.
While there is a very small chance of risk while using the online features of Animal Crossing, you should be aware that strangers can use the chat function to use profanity and other bad language if your child visits other island towns or lets strangers enter their town.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf has a built-in filter that detects and blocks out any foul language. New Horizons does not. However, bad language can be reported and if a player is caught swearing repeatedly, they can be banned from play.
Is there any violence or adult content in Animal Crossing?
There is no serious violence in Animal Crossing. There is one exception – the player characters can choose to hit Non-Player Characters (NPCs) with their butterfly net. This is presented in a cartoon way and it does no visible damage to the NPC. This is definitely not in the same league as the violence in a lot of video games, and Animal Crossing is typically a very non-combat and non-violent game.
Is there any social interaction in Animal Crossing?
Yes, there are social interaction features in Animal Crossing. When playing online, multiple players can see each other when they visit islands. When playing with others, players can interact with the chat function. If your child feels that they are being bullied or harassed in the online mode of Animal Crossing, they can report the player’s actions, which could get the player banned from the game. You can also limit your child’s interaction to only players on their friend list.
Can I check how much my child spends on Nintendo Switch games with GoHenry?
As well as many other benefits, GoHenry allows you to set up and monitor your child's online GoHenry account. You can get real-time spending notifications that update you whenever your child uses their card. You’ll also get an alert if the card is declined. You can also set spending controls to decide where and how much kids can spend, and you can use your parent app to easily add or change these settings.