The Talking Angela app, a game in which users interact with a talking cat named Angela, has been the subject of multiple rumors regarding its safety.
The rumors include one that humans are supposedly on the other end of the app, controlling the cat and collecting personal information.
One father recently had to deal with the rumors spreading through parents to their children, to other children–including his own 8-year-old daughter.
“I must have heard three different rumors from my daughter talking about this, including that if you answer all the questions, Angela tells you you’ll die; if you look at the cat’s eye closely, you can see a man at a computer watching you; it asks you where you live and other personal info,” writes Richard Montenegro Brown of the Imperial Valley Press.
“This is a real thing apparently, and our kids are spreading it among each other. The sad part of it is, one of the children who delivered the info to my daughter also said her father called the police to investigate the app. Wow. Kids are kids, and you can only believe them as far as you can throw them, but each said these ‘have you heard’s’ were coming straight from people who should know better.”
The viral hoaxes about the game have been thoroughly debunked by tech experts. The game is so well designed that people believe it’s being controlled manually, which sparked one of the rumors.
But the rumors have kept spreading, now over a year for some of them. And partly because of them, the game has risen to the top of the app stores.
“The bigger message here is stop believing the crap handed to you,” writes Brown. “Don’t allow it to take root in your own garden, don’t help germinate it in your children. Rumors and hoaxes, hearsay and falsehoods, old wives’ tales and white lies, it’s my job as a parent to help my kids identify them, squash them, pluck them out of the earth before they grow.”