Free Game Could Bankrupt Your 1st Grader

April 6, 2009

Elementary students are told to go to this page on the Internet.


From Jim Metrock:

Listen to this:

AUDIO FILE: From BusRadio’s afternoon elementary school show – April 3, 2009

You just heard two commercials BusRadio aimed at children on elementary school buses.

In this article we’ll only deal with the first commercial.

Tales Runner is yet another online video game being pushed by BusRadio. I wrote about the Korean company Nexon advertising on BusRadio before. This new game comes from a different Korean company called Gala-Net.

What’s with Korea and online video games? Dunno.

What I do know is parents have a good reason to storm their school board conference room. No school district should be dumping this sophisticated and manipulative advertising on ANY student much less 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students.

You heard the very young voices mixed with older voices on the commercial. The ad itself and the placement of the ad the elementary school program shows BusRadio is helping Gala-Net target the youngest schoolchildren. The technique the company is using is the Bandwagon Technique. Everybody is playing the game so why aren’t you?

The ad says Tales Runner is free. Yeah, right.

This is a for-profit company and their profit comes from children’s allowances and lunch money. An adult knows what Gala-Net is saying when they say "free." They know that the free game is the hook to get the child into their world and playing their games on their website. Once there, the child will see how incomplete the free game is.

Tales Runner and all the other online games BusRadio advertises to children constantly put buying opportunities in front of players.

Above: SALE PRICES!! Buy a Flying Pig for only 1,400 gP (gPotatoes). How much in real money? $14.00
One dollar buys 100 gPs.

Above: Children are to nag their parents into buying gPotatoe cards at Best Buy, Target, and other stores.

When a child successfully signs up for the BusRadio-advertised free game, he or she sees this screen below. It appears to be a woman with her breasts exposed. You don’t see these sexualized characters in Tales Runner but you do in other Gala-Net games.

Parents of elementary school students have little idea that this Korean online-gaming company is spending quality time with their child on the way to school and back.

Note: Here are the terms of service that technically elementary school-age children or their parents have to agree to before signing up for any Gala-Net game. Everything – EVERYTHING – is stacked against the child. Every break goes to the company. Refunds? No way. Gala-Net tries to make themselves immune to any liability. It’s Buyer-Beware at this BusRadio-advertised site and Buyer-Beware is tough for a 3rd grader to get his or her mind fully around.