By Frankie Hart, March 8 2019 —
Amidst parental panic about potential hazards facing children on the internet, a local mother is sharing concerns over messaging she found in her child’s video game. Hannah Hokes, mother of two, has been reaching out on social media to other parents to warn them about the game.
“I’m hoping that more people pay attention to it soon,” Hokes said. “There are a lot of parents in my social group, so I’m sort of disappointed it hasn’t had much traction yet. If they shared it with their other parent friends, then we could really cover some ground in preventing potential harm.”
Hokes bought the game for her children thinking she had thoroughly screened it for signs of violent or sexual themes and imagery. She bought it from an independent seller on Kijiji, but couldn’t find details of the game on any other site.
“The lister stated it was a brand-new, independently made game that was perfectly age-appropriate for my little ones,” Hokes explained. “I figured it must be small-scale, which is why I couldn’t find any reviews for the game Big Chungus.”
The cover art for Big Chungus features a friendly looking and inviting cartoon rabbit, whose “reassuring” eyes captured Hokes’s heart. When her daughter started playing it, it seemed like a safe and normal video game in which you play as the rabbit. But soon enough, Hokes noticed some strange dialogue. Every once in a while, the cartoon rabbit would utter phrases like “taxation is theft,” “mattress stores are an easy cover-up” and “tax evasion is a victimless crime.” She was appalled.
“This game is trying to encourage our children to commit tax fraud!” she said. “I knew immediately that I had to spread the word so that other parents would make sure to not get this game for their children.”
Hokes said she had to take a few weeks to heal and recover with her daughter from the experience, talking to her about the importance of reporting taxes correctly. She stated that it took many long discussions to dissuade her daughter’s interest in Swiss banks.
At this time, there are no other known copies of the video game. Hokes says this comes as a relief and that there’s still hope that more awareness could guarantee that no other child will come into contact with messages of tax evasion and money laundering.
“I’m starting a crowd-funding campaign to fund more awareness-raising projects and I’m happy to speak to any media outlets that will hear my plea to keep our kids safe,” Hokes said.
This article is part of our humour section.