She’s a force with which to be reckoned, and she’s described as a juggernaut. Her influence and popularity are unmistakable, and though she was created for preschool-aged children, she’s amassed a huge fan following among the parents and grandparents of those preschool-aged children, as well as among older children and adults who have no children.
She is, of course, Bluey Heeler from Disney’s children’s show, Bluey. And though millions upon millions of fans love her and her family, a warning has been issued related to the newest Bluey-inspired offering, and this time, the warning comes from a doctor.
The Wild Success of ‘Bluey’
Bluey debuted in her native Australia in 2018, where the Heeler family was received with open arms. Then, in 2019, after Disney purchased the broadcasting rights to the children’s program, making it available on Disney+, Disney Junior, and Disney Channel, Bluey found a whole new fanbase in the western hemisphere, and the show’s popularity has exploded since then.
Bluey has become so popular and well-liked over the years that her presence hasn’t been confined to television only. Fans can now find Bluey in books, on children’s apparel, as toys, and even in items for the home and kitchen.
And this week, every Bluey fan around the world will finally see the popularity of the show materialize in the form of a brand-new video game adventure for PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Bluey the Videogame will be available beginning November 17. But an education expert is warning parents that the new game isn’t necessarily appropriate for younger fans of the animated show.
A Warning for Parents of Very Young Children
Bluey is actually targeted at viewers between the ages of three and six years old, but the Australian animated series, originally created by animator Joe Brumm for Ludo Studio and BBC Studios, has amassed a fanbase well outside that age range–with fans that are both younger and older than the target age range, and Dr. Sheila Degotardi has a serious warning for parents of Bluey fans who are younger than that target age range.
Degotardi is a professor of early childhood education and the director of the Centre for Research in Early Childhood Education at Macquarie University and says that parents of toddlers would be especially cautious when it comes to Bluey’s new video game.
“There are concerns about the amount of screen time for very young children, in particular for children under the age of two,” Dr. Degotardi said in an interview with The West Australian. “There used to be the recommendation that those children do not have screen time at all, but I think that’s unrealistic.”
Degotardi explains that screens are a part of everyday life now and that parents must be diligent about ensuring that children’s screen time doesn’t take the place of imaginative play, among other things.
“[Screens are] everywhere, and children see them everywhere,” she said. “The issue is too much screen time for very young children. It runs the risk of taking them away from real-life, play-based experiences they need in order to learn effectively. They need to have hands-on play and exploration with objects and face-to-face interactions.”
A Warning for Parents of Older Children
For children aged three to five years, Dr. Degotardi says that screen time can take place–but in moderation. Further, she encourages parents to join in and play the new Bluey video game with their children.
Bluey the Videogame is designed for as many as four players to play at one time. Players can choose which character they want to be–Bluey, her sister Bingo, her mum Chilli, or her father Bandit. The availability of the game to be played by so many at one time offers parents the opportunity to truly interact with their children in the same fun activity, regardless of their children’s ages.
“If there’s the opportunity to [interact] with another player, and it might be a parent or a sibling, that can be a nice learning experience for the children,” Degotardi says. “And the research has suggested there’s no damage with that as long as it’s part of a balanced day, and they still get that hands-on play as well.”
Bluey the Videogame is available for PlayStation, Xbox, including Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch, beginning November 17th. The exciting game features playable episodes from inside Bluey’s world in the fan-favorite children’s TV show. Find it online at Amazon, Xbox.com, Nintendo.com, and at local retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.