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I Let 'Candy Crush' Crush My Child

Photograph by Getty Images

“Mommy, please, please stop,” my daughter mumbled out between full-blown sobs. “Please, mommy, it’s making me really sad.” And then she uttered the words that stabbed like a freshly sharpened blade, “Mommy, I’m disappointed in you.”

Yes, my daughter used the, “I’m disappointed in you” line on me. And it worked.

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So, you might be wondering what I did to warrant such a reaction from my 7-year-old daughter. Was I hitting the bottle? Was I popping handfuls of pills? Was I stealing the change from her piggy bank? No, it was way less after-school special than that. I was playing Candy Crush Saga.

First, I should mention that I was late jumping on the Candy Crush bandwagon, hitching a ride only after I saw countless nods to the ridiculously popular game on my Facebook feed. I gave in, even though I don’t have the time to add a mindless time waster into my day. In hindsight I should have paid mind to warnings such as the popular Someecard that states, “Inviting your friends to play Candy Crush Saga is like hosting an intervention and providing the crack.”

After I promised to stop playing, she caught me on the corner of the couch making combos of stripped candies.

But no, I didn’t take the warning seriously. I dove in and started to play. I then realized that Candy Crush Saga had a hold on me. I would reward myself after finishing a chore or an assignment by playing one, two, three rounds of the game. I would grab my phone and do a little crushing before I started my work for the day and before I went to sleep at night. What was supposed to be a little escape from my day turned into a total distraction. I was addicted to the game.

I confessed my downfall to my husband and child, and the latter took my words very seriously. She believed I could beat this “disease” and overcome the hold it had over me. She knew I could do it! But then it happened. After I promised to stop playing, she caught me on the corner of the couch making combos of stripped candies. She was, as she very clearly stated, disappointed in me. But I am not unique; Candy Crush Saga addiction is a real thing.

The mobile game was launched over a year ago and has been played 151 billion times. According to the game’s creator, King, one in every 23 Facebook users play it. Like any good dealer, the first hit is free, then the game separates users from their money with in-game purchases like extra levels, extra moves or special tools. It’s been estimated they bring in $875,382 per day from these little add-ons.

Time magazine recently wrote about the phenomenon noting that, “A survey by Ask Your Target Market polled 1,000 players and found that 32 percent of them ignored friends or family to play the game, 28 percent played during work, 10 percent got into arguments with significant others over how long they played, and 30 percent said they were “addicted.”

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So I must break the cycle. Not just so I can stop wasting my time, but to also be a good example for my daughter. Because, really, what grown adult wants her child to be disappointed in her—and for such a silly, yet sweet, thing?

Are you addicted to Candy Crush?

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