I thought I was on top of my kids’ online games. Then one day I heard my 9-year-old ask my 8-year-old, “Are you the Impostor?” The what? Great. Another game for me to figure out. This time it’s Among Us. And they’re not the only kids playing this game. Why are kids obsessed with Among Us?
This game has surged in popularity, so I decided to do my research, starting with an interview of two credible yet biased sources: my sons. Here’s what I learned from them along with some more seasoned perspectives on whether Among Us is an appropriate game for kids.
Alright guys, what’s the gist of Among Us?
8-year-old: You’re either an Impostor—there can be like, three—or a Crewmate. If you’re a Crewmate, you need to finish all your task things and figure out who the Impostor is. If the Impostor kills you, you’re a ghost.
9-year-old: Yeah, and ghosts get to go through waaaalls and do tasks and stuff, but they can’t vote on who they think the Impostor is. And if you’re the Impostor you have to kill all the crewmates in secret while you’re doing fake work and you have to try not to get ejected from the ship.
8-year-old: I have to go to the bathroom. Be right back.
OK. What determines who the Impostor is?
9-year-old: The game decides.
And what determines who wins?
9-year-old: When the Crewmates identify the Impostors in the emergency meeting, or the umm… Impostors kill all the Crewmates.
Why are kids obsessed with Among Us? What do you like about it?
9-year-old: I like the suspense of not knowing who the Impostor is. It’s a mystery!
8-year-old: I like that the Impostor can hide in vents and then pop out and sckkk! Slice the Crewmates’ heads off!
Welcome back. That was quick. Did you wash your hands with soap?
8-year-old: Uh huh.
(Doubtful of previous answer) Anything else you want to add?
9-year-old: If you find a body, you can report it and have an emergency meeting! Can we go play now?
Awesome. Yeah, sure.
Here’s my take on Among Us.
Among Us is like Clue meets a game of cat and mouse. If your kids have played the game Mafia that kids play at camp, it’s similar. Why are kids obsessed with Among Us? From my perspective, it really looks like fun. In fact, I’m tempted to play. Like my older son, I like mystery. I like the idea of trying to figure out who the Impostor is without getting axed.
I’ve listened in while my sons play and heard them question each other: “Are you the Impostor? Don’t lie to me and say ‘no’ if you are!” Do I like that it encourages deception? Of course not. Are there lots of games kids play that have secrecy or deception in their strategy? Yes.
Is it safe for kids?
If I had it to do over, I’d not let my 8-year-old play yet. But I think Among Us is OK for kids 9 and older if they play in private rooms with just their friends. There are no conversations among players until the emergency meeting, and the chatting is all text, no voice. It’s worth noting that the game was hacked in 2020 and the hacker sent disturbing content. All parents should know that this is a risk for any online game.
The characters themselves are not human in resemblance; they’re more cyclops space minions. The blood and guts are only briefly on the screen and if you’re the Impostor (the one spilling the blood and guts), you don’t see any of it. You just pick your target and when you kill them they turn into what pretty much looks like a cartoon ham. I will say the game centers around manipulation and deception, so if you’re going to let your kids play, turn it into an opportunity to have a conversation about honesty and integrity. You can ask them questions like, “What would it be like if you couldn’t trust your brother or your friends to tell the truth in real life?”
Do your kids play Among Us? What game are they currently obsessed with?