Angry Birds And Other Kids’ Games Display Horrific War Footage In Ads

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

angry birds

Over the years, many parents and activist groups have worried about the negative effects that mobile games such as Angry Birds might have on developing young minds.

Most of these concerns have historically been centered around children becoming addicted to phones and tablets, but it now seems that there is an entirely different threat for parents and activists to worry about.

Atrocities Shown On Angry Birds

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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Israeli ads showing Hamas atrocities” have begun popping up in Angry Birds and other games where young children can see them.

The ads are short and relatively brutal in nature, with one of them appearing as a message in capital letters from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs over a black screen.

Terrible Ad Messages

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That message reads “We’re being murdered in our homes, executed in our beds … We will make sure that those who harm us pay a heavy price.”

In addition to the frightening text, the ad features “footage of rocket attacks, a fiery explosion, and masked gunmen, was shown to gamers, including several children.”

How Did The Ads Appear?

Why this scary ad is appearing in Angry Birds is actually something of a major mystery.

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs digital employee David Saranga confirmed that this is a “government-promoted ad,” but he has “no idea” how it ended up inside Angry Birds and other mobile games designed for children.

He went on to clarify that advertisers had explicit instructions “to block it for people under 18.”

Third-Party Data Partners

In order to get to the bottom of things, “Reuters contacted 43 advertising firms that Rovio listed on its website as ‘third-party data partners’” about this mystery, but only 12 responded.

All 12 companies (which included “Amazon, Index Exchange, and Pinterest”) clarified that they had nothing to do with this ad appearing in Angry Birds.

As of this writing, Reuters had confirmed that the ad appeared on the game at least once in London, and “the news agency has documented at least five other cases across Europe,” meaning that this is a relatively small issue, but this small issue has proven to be a very large mystery.

Kids Left Shaken

Certainly, this doesn’t seem like a minor issue to the parents of the children who were suddenly exposed to imagery featuring such shocking violence.

One such example is Maria Julia Assis: this London-based barista and mother was horrified when her six-year-old son showed her how the ad had popped up in the middle of the game.

She reported that “the ad left her son shaken and she quickly deleted the game.’

Other Instances

In that family, it wasn’t Angry Birds that the violent ad appeared in: instead, it popped up in the children’s puzzle game Alice’s Mergeland, and other users report seeing the ad in games such as Balls’n Ropes, Stack, Solitaire: Card Game 2023, and Subway Surfers.

This is further proof that despite how few incidents have been reported, this could be a more widespread issue. With any luck, world governments as well as advertisers will learn how to prevent this from happening before more children are exposed to shocking and violent images from Israel and its conflict with Palestine that they simply aren’t ready for.