An eight-year-old girl playing an iPhone game about cats called "My Talking Tom" was understandably a little confused — and, in that eight-year-old way, verrrrry curious — when a pop-up ad appeared asking, "Tired of Your Birth Control Routine? Tap Here."
PandoDaily's Michael Carney reports that a friend's niece was playing the game when she saw the ad. She immediately went to a parental unit, asking, "Mommy, what's birth control?"
My Talking Tom is, according to its description at the iTunes store, a game all about growing up: "Adopt your very own baby kitten and help him grow into a fully grown cat. Name him and make him part of your daily life by feeding him, playing with him and nurturing him as he grows." (The game isn't specifically targeted to kids, but it's rated 4+, and it's hard to imagine many adults who want to spend time nurturing pretend cats.)
But the eight-year-old's family was unhappy that they were forced to have a conversation about birth control before they were quite ready, and Outfit 7, the company who makes the game, provided an apologetic statement to Pando:
We have a strict advertising policy that dictates strong category filters to ensure all ads serviced to our users are age-appropriate. On the rare occasion that an inappropriate ad is posted in error from us or one of our vendor ad networks, we remove it as quickly as possible. While this is an industry-wide issue and not specific to Outfit7, we take this matter seriously and are committed to producing family-friendly gaming.
Consumerist suggests keeping your kids away from free, ad-supported games altogether to avoid them seeing "adult" ads. Or, you know, you could explain what birth control is when your kid asks, because childhood has always been a time for hilariously inappropriate questions. Who else ran to their moms asking what a "bordello" was during a reading of Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself? iPhone ads might just be usurping Judy Blume as the catalyst for those paralyzingly awkward parental explanations we've all suffered through.
Screengrab via YouTube