Should an App Glamorize Bad Behavior?

Jul 10, 2014 2:02:34 PM


I was trying to get my 13-year-old daughter Emma out the door for camp this morning, and she said she had to wait because “I need to get more points so I can bust a move at the club.” I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, so she told me she was now addicted to a new smartphone game called Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

I knew I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear.

As she explained how the game works,  I had to laugh. It sounded like something created by a bunch of drunken college women. But it actually was created by Kim Kardashian herself ( or rather app developers working for the Kardashian empire).

The Apple app store describes it this way: “JOIN Kim KARDASHIAN on a red carpet adventure in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood! CREATE YOUR OWN STAR and customize your look with hundreds of style options, including Kim Kardashian’s personal picks! 
⋆ STAR in a huge interactive adventure as you encounter other celebs, dedicated fans, persistent paparazzi… and even hang out with Kim herself! 
⋆ RULE THE RED CARPET as an A-list movie actor, cover model, fashion designer and more – what you do is up to you! 
⋆ TAKE OVER L.A. in a virtual world complete with exclusive clubs, upscale boutiques, and luxury homes! Travel to New York City and Miami! 
⋆ DATE AND DUMP CELEBS at the best parties and hottest clubs! Flirt and become the next huge celebrity power-couple! 
⋆ BRING YOUR FRIENDS ALONG FOR THE RIDE using Facebook – help each other rise to fame, compare styles, send gifts, and see who can be the biggest star!

My daughter’s character is named Kalliope because you have to have a “K” name if you’re going to hang with Kim.

Among other things, you earn points by:

  • Getting the public to talk about you, whether that be doing good things (attending a big event) or bad things (throwing a drink on someone more famous than you). My daughter informed me that she did threw a drink at “Willow Page” because she’s mean and accused her of “flirting with her man even though I didn’t choose the flirt option.” Yes, on this game you can flirt with other people’s boyfriends.
  • Getting drunk, but not throwing up. “I didn’t throw up because I only ordered a shot and a bottle of vodka to promote a brand and get more advertising opportunities.” Seriously??? I guess one could say she’s learning the how to market, but is this really the way I want her to do that?
  • Dating to gain status. Great lesson for teenagers. Not!

As someone in the social media business, I have to give Kardashian props for this innovative new way to promote herself, as if she needs any more help doing this. I mean really! Us Weekly Magazine might as well be called Kardashian Weekly.

The free app was released barely a week ago and already ranks 4th among free apps at Apple, just behind “No One Dies Today” and “Fit the Fat.” It proves once again that the Kim Kardashian brand definitely has power. And the app has a 5 our of 5 rating on the app store, so it's providing a good user experience, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. My daughter is definitely addicted.

But I am SO SICK of the Kardashians – a family who has become famous for being famous. This game only reinforces all the vapid, superficial, truly horrible ways that they’ve done so – split-second marriages, sex tapes, bad plastic surgery, etc. For teen girls, it’s reinforcing society's worst trends. My daughter’s friends talk about being Instagram famous. How about having real friendships with real people based on mutual respect and loyalty? They see people like “Honey Boo Boo” on TV and have the impression that you know longer have to accomplish something or excel at something to gain celebrity.

So Emma’s new app is going bye bye. So sorry. Hope you enjoyed it. That time spent with Kim could be better spent elsewhere – anywhere else.


Topics: Media Motherhood

Michelle Breyer

Written by Michelle Breyer

Michelle Breyer (michelle@texturem­ is the co-founder of content and ecommerce platform Naturall­ and TextureMedia. By engaging beauty enthusiasts through original content, branded entertai­nment, social media, product reviews and commerce, TextureMedia influences up to $5 billion in hair care sales each year. Its monthly social, consumer reach is 26 million across a portfolio of digital brands, including its Market Research & Insights division, CurlyNikki and Naturall­yCurly.