Teen’s new hobby: «My Child Lebensborn». Analysis of a psychologist for parents
The Second World War left deep scars in the souls of many peoples. But their end has not resulted in absolute peace. It is difficult for us, the inhabitants of the twenty-first century, to imagine what happened then. The creators of My Child Lebensborn offer their players to immerse themselves in the post-war period and live in the role of a poor man who brought up a child from the Lebensborn animal shelter. What is this game, why does it cause so many emotions, can it be played by children and what to talk about with them afterwards? Let’s understand together.
- My Child Lebensborn: Everything about the game
- The cultural and psychological impact of social role-playing simulators
- Reviews from young people and criticism from adults
My Child Lebensborn: Everything about the game
My Child Lebensborn is a Norwegian story and role-playing game about raising a child in the post-war period. Its release took place in 2018, but recently it became a trend in TikTok, and this secured it the first download place among paid games in the AppStore. According to Google Play, the game has been downloaded more than 5 million times. Despite the 12+ age limit, there are many reviews from younger players on TikTok. There is no official version of the game for PC yet.
«My Kind Lebensborn» is a paid app. Its price is 279 rubles. A percentage of the revenue from the developers is donated to the Children Born of War Foundation (a charity that helps children located in areas involved in military conflicts — Root tones).
Rating of the game – 12+.
What is the game about? Plot and historical context (attention, spoilers)
Credit: «My Child Lebensborn»
During World War II, many countries went through hell. But for each person it was their own. The fascists came to Norway with the «world» and their program included using local women as «incubators» for the birth of new Aryan children. The locals were attracted by their «real» looks: blue eyes, blond hair, and a slender build.
Across the country, «branches» of an organization called«Lebensborn» began to open. Lebensborn — «The Source of Life» Münder. born — source)), so-called motherhouses (where women were selected and prepared for childbirth) and children’s houses (where they were brought and where they raised the «Aryan» children). The Nazi organization itself was formed much earlier in Germany. The official reason is the demographic crisis and the abortion wave.
In «Lebensborn» women bear children, and leave (or rather, the children were), as in the shelter, which is in the care of the state. According to official figures, more than 12,000 such children were born by the union of local women and Germans in Norway alone. In addition, the children came here and from outside — those who looked like «Aryans» were stolen straight from the streets of the cities and brought to Lebensborn, and they gave them new German names, learned German and raised them in the spirit of real women and leaders.
The House of Lebensborn. Norway, Oslo. Credit: snl.no
When peacetime came, the Norwegians were extremely cruel to the «traitors» who, for various reasons, lived with the Germans (not all of them did so out of goodwill) — they were exiled to concentration camps. Since the memory of the atrocities of Nazism was not erased from the people, many began to take all their pain and hatred out on the defenseless little children born to the fascists as well.
Such a child is discussed here in the game «My Child Lebensborn». 1951, Norway. The player comes to the animal shelter to adopt the boy Klaus or the girl Karin. They are seven years old and have to go to school straight away. In principle, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a girl or prefer a boy — the development of the plot has no influence.
Next, the player will become a real parent for the child. It all begins quite innocently: the child is waiting for school to learn, he will have friends, and everything will be just wonderful. And ahead of the player are several parallel tasks. You have to go to work and earn money, feed and wash the child, play with him, help socialize, sometimes repair his clothes, try to provide everything necessary. Sounds very simple, but there is a big «BUT!». Time and resources are limited, and the «Guardian» has to make decisions all the time. For example, stay at work and earn some extra money or go after home and feed your child.
Credit: «My Child Lebensborn»
We remember the historical context of what is happening and we understand that as the game progresses it becomes more difficult for the adoptee to progress. He is insulted, beaten and humiliated by classmates and teachers. And all you can do is have conversations with him, support him and explain why the world is so unfair. Unfortunately, the player cannot come to school and protect his child. All you can do is write a letter to the teacher (spoilers: it doesn’t get any easier for anyone to do this).
The level of bullying will increase every day. The guardian will face psychosomatics and real illnesses, and on a «fine» day you suspect that one of the teachers abused a poor child. All of this creates a strong emotional involvement of the player. Naive children’s questions to which one has to look for answers cause a shock: «What does «Nazi offspring» mean?». «Why do children call me that?». In addition, the player faces the problem of finding the child’s true family, and when he finds them, he gets nothing but problems.
Separately, I must say about the game’s schedule – it’s very well done. The painted Klaus and Karin awaken empathy, the desire to help and heat. They really get excited about the train or the ball game, and seeing them in the mud with abrasions on their faces makes you want to cry in impotent anger that these babies are being forced to go through undeserved hell every day.
The game has two endings – the good and the bad. But we will not reveal them to leave an intrigue for those who want to pass them.
The cultural and psychological impact of social role-playing simulators
Are such games dangerous for children and young people?
Many people note that the game leaves a heavy aftertaste. It emotionally charges the player, forcing him to empathize with the character, to feel his powerlessness before the cruelty of people, to love the love of a little man.
An unprepared, weak psyche can perceive everything that happens as intense stress. The game is filled with hopelessness, violence and depression. The player can enjoy the fleeting smile of their character, but usually something more terrifying than the previous pursuit happens after a few moments.
An alarm signal can be the child’s increased joy when going through such a game. The player is likely to injure the character at this point, venting anger on the defenseless, albeit marked, hero. Do not scold the child for this way of playing the game, but it is worth paying attention to his emotional sphere as a whole. Perhaps a lot of depressive aggression has accumulated in it. Need to find the cause and eliminate, at the same time, a way to legally reduce pairs — for example, putting it in the sports section.
How do parents react when a son or daughter is interested in the game «My Child Lebensborn»?
As with any other hobby of children, parents need to remain calm and interested. Talk to your child about the game, find out what he likes and dislikes about this game, play together or help with a little advice. This game can be a reason to raise serious issues that need to be discussed with children:
1. Talking about National Socialism, telling about the time, why fascism and National Socialism are bad
Talk about the war and post-war period. You can watch films about that time together, remember your ancestors who were at war. This will help stimulate the child’s interest in world history, country history, and family history.
2. Talk about hate speech and bullying
Using the example of Klaus and Karin, you show how insults, bullying and humiliation affect the human psyche. You may learn during the conversation that your children were witnesses or participants in the bullying.
3. Talking about sexual abuse
The game has a story when a child returns from school and gives up everything: he does not want to wash, he does not want to be touched, he does not want to play and eat, and a terrible figure of a multi-armed monster appears in his drawings. All of these are signs of child sexual abuse.
Talk to your teen, tell them that NOBODY has the right to touch them without permission and in case of any presupposition or violence you should IMMEDIATELY seek help from your parents or another adult they trust.
4. Talk about what it’s like to be a parent
Some children complain that they are tired of the monotony of the game, where they have to perform the same actions day after day and constantly have to listen to the nagging of a character who is dissatisfied with the school, classmates and teachers and needs constant support. This reaction is normal. The situation itself, which is described in the game, is difficult and unbearably grim. Those glimpses of joy that Klaus or Karin give only emphasize the negative side of this family’s life more.
Compare your situation and the life of a fictitious family, talk to your child about what he likes and what is not in your relationship. Does it get enough support? What do you worry about? In response, talk about your difficulties. This can be a good way to build a trusting relationship within the family.
If you notice a child having an unhealthy reaction to what’s happening in the game — enjoying themselves and trying to harm their «charge» — pay attention to other areas of their life. Maybe he has difficulties at school or problems in the family. If the child has become more anxious because of the game and is sleeping poorly, they should limit the passage of «My Child Lebensborn».
In the event that a child came up with the idea of passing the game, but it seems that it could harm his psyche, it is better to play the game together than to ban it. You can support your child and explain what is happening on the screen. The ban does not prevent children from passing «Mein Kind Lebensborn»: there is always the option of playing on a friend’s phone or doing it secretly from parents. That only increases interest.
However, if you are concerned that your child will not comply with your request not to play these games, or you want to check how much time he spends with you (and in what time), use the Kids360 service. It not only has the function of time-limiting the gadget but also filters unwanted content that a child may receive.
Why are such games becoming more and more popular among children and young people?
«My Child Lebensborn» is a well thought out, high quality, beautiful game. It is very different from the usual «shooters», other quests and arcades. The game causes a very strong emotional response from the player, and adolescence is imbued with emotional outbursts. Their uniqueness in the gaming market coupled with their emotional impact has made them so popular.
What do children and adults see in the game, what roles are they trying on?
Children and adults who have passed «My Child Lebensborn» often say that they saw themselves in their teacher. Players recall instances of rush and hopelessness that met them on their life journey. The game teaches com
Reviews from teenagers and criticism from adults
Credit: «My Child Lebensborn»
Most of My Child Lebensborn’s user reviews indicate that this is a very touching game. «Whoever has not regretted a child in the game has no heart» — wrote one girl on the Internet. Another regretted the whole game that one could not go to this cruel school and smash the villains who had so abused their «protégé». Some users couldn’t complete the game because they saw a beaten kid after the first day at school and couldn’t look at it further.
This game won the 2019 Game beyond Entertainment Award from the British Video Games Academy. This prize is not given to games for the quality of the game, but for their content, for the socially important aspects that their creators highlight.
Of course, one can also find negative reviews about the game on the network, because it does not bring joy and psychological relief to the player. Parents fear that children will not be able to cope with the flood of emotions caused by My Child Lebensborn.
We shouldn’t jump on the game and blame the creators for hurting our children. The task of the parents is to help children understand their functions and to explain the context of what is happening in the game.
There is too much content in the modern world, and no matter how much we want to protect children from various computer games, anime, films and publications, it becomes more difficult every day. The only way to protect your child is to talk to him, explain and educate him, teach him to recognize your emotions, and make the right choice based on inner values. Children who have family support and trust are much more able to cope with difficulties and are less likely to engage in reckless actions.
The picture on the front page: from «My Child Lebensborn»
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