Discussion: Parental Opinions On Episode

I talked about this as well but think about pg13 movies, episode is milder than most movies that fall into that category.

Do you think that Episode is too mature for a 13+ rating? or do you think the s0ccer m0ms are too sensitive?
No. Because of my brother’s age I know plenty of 13-14 year old kids and quite frankly anything episode has pumped out they have already heard of or seen. They go out of their ways to find the things they shouldn’t too. Sexy time is something most kids that age go out of their way to find. Other issues like violence, cursing, mental health, drugs, and alcohol they either know someone who has dealt with those things, deals with it themselves, or has seen it in movies.

Do you feel like your story would benefit from a higher age rating?
I don’t think it would change much for the story I am working on publishing honestly. If there was an option to publish a story with guidelines for 18+ or even 17+ I would be able to add so much more than I can now. (It is about a group of villains so no not adding sexy time)

Who’d you let your hypothetical 13 year old child view
I have a younger sister who is under thirteen who reads episode stories. Obviously I am not her parent I don’t and can’t control that. I do get to decide if she reads certain stories or not though so I’m going to base it off this. If I had a thirteen year old they could read any of them though as long as they understood these are simply stories.

i . An Episode Official Story
I would say yes but she hates them all because of the gem choices anyways. Unless it is romance then I would need to read it first or check the forums.

ii. YOUR story?
Yup! She has listened to me brainstorm about it already anyways.

iii. A trending section story?
Yes. She can read any trending story she wants. She has to show me first though and 9 times out of 10 she can read it. Romance section is a whole other story though. Just a quick trip to the forums and I’ll come up with an answer. I don’t say that because of sexy time (although that isn’t something she should be reading) I say it because of the amount of toxic and problematic things that genre tends to have.

iv. ANY story?!
No. She can’t read quite a lot. If all stories truly followed the guidelines it would be fine but that just isn’t how it is.

4.Any final thoughts?
Episode stories both official and community stories do not follow the guidelines. The guidelines people are supposed to follow are fine for a thirteen year old and in some cases under that. It just becomes a problem that not enough stories follow them.

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I don’t necessarily think Episode is too mature, but there are some community/user stories where mature themes are handled irresponsibly and so the subliminal message ends up being all sorts of wrong - and I don’t think is the right kind of thing to have 13 or 14 y/os reading. But it feels weird to say Episode might be too mature because that sounds like I’m giving a compliment lol.

No

i. I mean… It’s been a long time since I’ve read a featured story but, like, if they want to read the app, they have to read 20 something episodes of a featured story or pay gems and there’s no freaking way I’d let my kids spend gems on this app so yes I would make them suffer reading through a poorly directed and underdeveloped official story :slight_smile:

ii. It honestly would depend on which one but that has nothing to do with the themes I write about and everything to do with the fact that it’s so cringe to look back on the things I wrote last year

iii. Yeah. There’s quite a few that are actually appropriate and don’t push guidelines, so as long as it’s one of those ones, I would be okay with it.

iv. Well, I said yes for the other things so yeah I guess I have to say yes here too.

I do think it’s a valid concern for parents to have (Thank you Episode ads :kissing_closed_eyes:). The gem choices in featured stories are out of control these days. Like 2 out of 3 options costing 29 gems each is madness. And it really is sooooooo easy to lie about your age of course. … I’m trying to come up with a “but” but that’s all I got lol. Episode is kind of hard to defend. Like, it’s a hard thing to manage and regulate when there’s sooooo many consumers and so there’s a lot of stuff that gets through the cracks and sure every app or video game has these same issues, but just because it’s bound to happen, doesn’t mean parents should just lay down and accept it either. If they want to express their concern then I think their right to do that… they might be wasting their breath though because I don’t think anything will change though :grimacing:

5. For number four, put a space after the period and the A :pleading_face:

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2878


Ok…here I go

@amberose
Also that was worded perfectly!

I think some stories on the app are a bit mature for young audiences.
Like Amber said.
Some people can take a subject with mature content and change it up completely into something way different :sweat_smile:

BUT

That doesn’t mean all stories have this language?
If that makes sense

Hope this didn’t offend anyone.

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THE @amberose commented on MY discussion thread?! :open_mouth:

I can die happy now. :relaxed:

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Long story short: I don’t think they’re being overdramatic at all.

I looked through the articles and they’re more or less expressing the same concerns some of us have had for a long time. They’re not wrong in saying that the app is highly sexual either. And if they’re going solely off of trending/featured stories, can we really blame them?

They also acknowledge that these things can be difficult to regulate so I don’t consider them unreasonable. Some of their perspectives are a bit different than mine, but they’re just trying to keep their children from being exposed to harmful or inappropriate stories.

Episode features numerous storylines about sexual discrimination, underage sex and pregnancy. Many of these glorify adultery and are potentially promoting reckless decision making, pettiness and unkind acts.

On inspection, there are several issues with the app.

First, storylines can be written by anyone, even those aged 13-17. And while there are more than 12 million creators, there is little content regulation, even when the Episode community expresses concern.

One story regarding sexual consent raised uproar with users, who were concerned at the poor moral message of a young female character being “blind drunk” and not consenting to a sexual liaison with an older male character.

Yet, the story was not removed, and the author did little to address the backlash.

Another concerning aspect of the game is that in many situations, users have to pay money to make morally correct decisions, yet reckless choices are free. This reinforces inappropriate reactions to events. This is also where players can unwittingly spend huge amounts of money.

Super interesting that they linked a forum thread here by the way.

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Aww :pleading_face: :heart:



Lmao, why did they link my comment from the thread? :flushed: And tbh that comment is like a really sore spot for me too. I’m still so salty that after all the drama, they bought the story. Like, not even two months after that article was published, Episode released the featured version of the story. Like, people actually have to read that story now in order to unlock community stories :unamused:

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It really depends. Because of the new guidelines, I think it is. There are some stories that I don’t think 13 y/o ppl should see with some dark stuff/ very steamy scenes but it usually comes with a trigger warning.

Yes, yes, and yes. If episode was rated 16+ I’d be able to put blood in my story :flushed:

I mean I’ve been using episode since it’s only animation was classic. I was young when I read a lot of the stories. I’ve seen it change drastically over the past few years (A LOT more inappropriate) but I’ve never felt as though they left a personal impression on me.

Yes children are more impressionable, but they also have a mind of their own.
The episode staple of an insecure girl crushing on a race car driver who smokes and drinks was something I saw in shows like degrassi. (But Degrassi actually affected me life :sneezing_face:) I never took the advice of the episode characters because it was just a story.

Next, I do think the episode guidelines should be changed HEAVILY. If they want to cater to 13+ they should add a specific section for them that eases them into the episode universe. They should also add a 13-18 writers section so younger writers can get better recognition and young readers can find user stories that are by people around their age.

Lastly (And I know this is off topic) but episode makes it SO HARD for writers to gain recognition. It shows up in the stories section for maybe 30 minutes and then it’s gone! People can’t do R4R the rest of their lives :weary:. There should also be a large New Stories tab!!!

That ends my ted talk.

Well, yes and no. I mean, they revised their guidelines not long ago, but tbh the fact that so many authors find loopholes around them means that their definitions of what counts as “promoting” excessive violence or sexual assault are still quite vague and that the guidelines should really be tightened up even more. If they were and if the guidelines were enforced equilaterally, then I would say no. But both community stories and the featured versions of stories Episode purchases include a lot of content that I would not be comfortable with a young teenager reading. The amount of gratuitous violence, hypersexualization, and reliance on stereotypes is alarming and the concerns parents have around those things is valid.

I haven’t published anything yet, but nothing I’m working on is written in a way that doesn’t take into account the 13+ rating for Episode. Some of my stories that have…ugh, I don’t want to say “heavier themes” because that implies I’m writing about issues or writing issues in ways that aren’t age appropriate. But with those stories, the messages are to offer both critique of current sociocultural systems & expectations as well as alternatives for like…best practices, I guess. They’re meant to encourage readers to reflect the real world implications of our actions and beliefs, but I’m very aware of the target audience for Episode when I write stories with those messages. A lot of young readers are exposed to sensitive issues in their real lives, so there are some topics I think we can write about in a way that’s meant to convey that we see them and we’ve been there too and we can build a better, more just world for everyone.

Well, you can’t really get out of reading official stories when you download the app without spending money to buy gems to unlock the community catalogue. But I suppose I would talk to the kid about what to expect and to come to me with any concerns reading them. It’s hard to have total control over what teenagers do or consume without parenting in a way that feels invasive and makes them not trust you. But because I prioritize healthy relationships and addressing the impact of our actions, I would hope a kid I was supervising would come to value those things as well.

Again, I haven’t published anything, but if I did? I guess so. I mean, it’s a bit weird to think about just because I tend to compartmentalize a lot of different facets of my life. But I would never write anything for Episode that couldn’t be read by a kid I was supervising.

Like I said, it’s hard to have total control over this, but I would definitely encourage them to, you know, not read the majority of the trending section lol. The trending section and Episode official stories have a lot in common, not least because Episode tends to buy from the trending section. But I would hope any way I raised a child would make them not value mafia bad boy sexual harassers or MCs who lose all sense of self control or will the moment a hOt gUy walks into the room lol

Well, yeah. I mean, there are a lot of aspects of Episode and its community that are problematic at best. BUT there are some seriously talented community authors who create thoughtful, age appropriate stories and some of those stories are like…the best of the best across all types of media. And I would be fine with a kid reading those and maybe being inspired to pursue their own creativity.

Honestly, I have a lot of critiques around trends in parenthood and childrearing, but “wanting to protect children from consuming toxic media that influences their view of the world” isn’t one of them. And I’ve mentioned this before in other threads, but there’s something unique about the scope of the episode community. LIkely, kids are consuming other media and facing other environmental factors that are just as, if not more, problematic than Episode stories and it’s not as if Episode authors are single-handedly responsible for indundating kids with toxic messages.

BUT the lack of distance between content creators and content consumers really amplifies the influence Episode stories have on young readers. For one thing, pretty much anyone can create a story. But for another, readers are interacting with authors regularly and that has a huge impact on how credible young readers see authors. Most kids aren’t having conversations or even being acknowledged by their favorite actors or book authors or musicians or whoever, but they are interacting with Episode authors regularly. It’s in the same vein as “word of mouth is the best source for recommendations” in that the personal touch of interactions between authors and readers means that authors have a huge sphere on influence on young readers. I really, really, invite people to think about that when they’re writing and publishing stories. So for me that amplifies that already valid concerns parents have about their children reading content on the Episode App.

The other thing is, teenagers will always assume they are more mature than they are and they can handle anything, but typically won’t realize how much all their formative influences and messages were until they reflect on it later in their adulthood. I was the same way as a teenager and it’s part of the process of growing up. But if you’re an adult, it’s still your responsibility to protect teenagers from harmful messages. And if you’re going to write about a sensitive topic, it needs to be clear in-universe that you’re offering a toughtful critique of how those topics are usually conveyed and that you’re showing examples of how to do things differently. And since Episode doesn’t enforce its guidelines on everyone equally if at all, it’s up to us as a community to continue critiquing the problematic messages that are often portrayed in Episode stories.

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I think it depends heavily on the story and author. Most of the stories I’ve read are ones I’d class as being +13 but I also haven’t read a lot compared to others so I couldn’t give accurate numbers.

Honestly no. :woman_shrugging:t2: I think I do a really good job actually of staying within the pg:13 guidelines and if I was ever told there were things I needed to change I would just change them.

Well, I don’t have kids and I really didn’t have supervision over what I read when I was this age but I think theoretically the best thing for me to do would be to read before they read. I have an aunt who I know did this with her daughter before she’d let her read books. I think it’s a good idea. Otherwise I think just talking to teens about the topics that come up would be good too. Pregnancy in a story isn’t the end all be all but if I were to let my 13 year old read a story with it; it would be my responsibility as the parent to explain how the story isn’t realistic, etc.
As for my own work? Yeah, I would. :woman_shrugging:t2:

I think the main issue I have with so many of these reviews/parental sites/whatever is that so many of them mention children who are under the age of 13. Episode is a 13+ app. If you as a parent don’t control what your 8 year old is doing and they download episode that’s not on Episode as a company, that’s on you as a parent. Also, maybe I’m a bit old fashioned here, but I don’t get why we’re just handing 8-11 year olds smartphones for constant use. :woman_shrugging:t2:
Episode could stand to be more clear about what they do and don’t allow, of course, and they still have a lot of work I feel like in terms of making sure at least most of the content is suitable for a 13+ audience.

I’m also going to add that I think there’s this common misconception that you have to write these problematic stories to get reads and on trending (particularly for drama and romance). I’m friends with someone who’s been in drama trending regularly for months with a story that I wouldn’t dare call problematic. I’ve been on drama and romance trending with a story I wouldn’t call problematic (and no one else has either), so I don’t get why people think they have to write these stories that are so similar and so problematic. Multiple authors and stories have proven that you can get featured on shelves, as contest winners, on trending, etc. without writing about problematic, toxic behavior and I think if more people got that the app would be “cleaner” overall for everyone. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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Really interesting discussion, thanks for the thread.

1. Do you think that Episode is too mature for a 13+ rating? or do you think the s0ccer m0ms are too sensitive?
The thing is… I know that 13 year olds know things and see things outside of Episode too, so I wouldn’t say that this app is the worst thing they can come across. If they switch on the TV for example, they will see stuff that are completely appriopriate for them, and other stuff that has more mature content. My main problem is that on Episode we see the latter way more often than we should. Even after the guideline changes, it still looks like an erotica app for the first sight, and if you open a random story, you’ll have a high chance that it’s not gonna change your opinion.

2. Do you feel like your story would benefit from a higher age rating?
No because I wouldn’t put in more mature content anyway.

3. Who’d you let your hypothetical 13 year old child view:
OK, so when you asked this question and I saw YOUR story, it somewhat hit me: Would I? :flushed::sweat_smile:
I like to think that I don’t have any explicit sexual content in my stories, but I do make some references. So I guess, while I’m fairly sure that my stories don’t break the guidelines, I wouldn’t encourage my kids to read specifically my stories haha, but I wouldn’t forbid it either. As for the “any story“ option, I kind of feel the same way, because I know quite a few that are completely appropriate, and I know others that are not… But from all the options above, I would be mostly concerned if my child was reading stories from the trending section, because my biggest issue will be always with the stories that glorify toxic relationships, and unfortunately those stories do trend for some inexplicable reason. I’m not sure about the featured stories because I don’t read them, but they are not much better, as I’ve heard :grimacing:

4. Any final thoughts?
If the Episode official stories are really not much better, then the company should really start featuring some other types of stories, because as long as they promote the problematic themes, people are going to judge by the cover. And in certain cases, I mean it literally.

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That’s a huge part of the issue too: people have to read a crazy amount of chapters from featured/episode originals just to unlock community stories. Three or even five chapters would be one thing, but I think it’s like twenty? And when the stories that represent newcomers’ first introduction to app as a whole are this shitty and harmful, it makes things so much worse.

But they’re unlikely to stop doing it anytime soon because actively aiming for people who prefer to read bite-size chapters and poorly-written, romance-driven stories make them more money. :woman_shrugging:

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bump

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Go parents!

Well said.

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Hmmm. I’ll have to say yes. There is a lot of glorification of topics that shouldn’t be glorified and you don’t want that to stick with anyone. It really depends on the story and the child though, In my opinion.

Definetly. While I don’t have anything like sexual in it, I talk about a lot of sensitive topics.

Lmao not mine. Probably an Episode Official Story. While they suck, they are pretty innocent because Episode won’t break their own guidelines. (or will they?) No to trending story’s because they are kinda sexual and mafia related.

In my opinion, it depends on the kid. Some kids are mature and might be able to handle it. I do think Episode would benefit from a higher age rating.

its been nearly a month soooo…

bump

So first, just a few thoughts of mine lmao

I feel like rn not only Episode should be rated 13pg, look at TikTok, many videos should be rated, as much as some Youtube videod should be, or even Google sometimes.

Now i rly feel like children should not have a phone, they should borrow their parent’s phones or an adult’s at least, it would be easier for thrm to keep an eye on what they watch.

Anyway, I don’t think that Episode should be 18+ honestly 13 is already gud, bc it wouldnt change anything.

I personally began Episode when I was 12, I am now 14, and it did’nt rly affect me, I mean it’s not like ur an angel at 12 and like u dunno anything abt these things we r talking abt.

And abt my story, I am rly working hard on not getting over the rated pg, also if we have blood we can do a skip scene option, would be great, same for ‘hot or sexy’ scenes.

Well that was my thought.
:purple_heart:

I speaking as a reader and also a parent here in Australia it’s age 12+. I would not allow my sons to read episodes at all a lot of stories are basically trash and would never ever pass at 12+ rating if it was on any other media platform.

But I have my own mother complain about Call of Duty she brought it for my nephew when he was 10 and complained about the swearing online told her flat out the games have a rating system and it was for 15+ she called me a hypocrite because my husband plays that game big difference between a adult and a child.

I think the rating of episode should reflect other Interactive story apps which are 17+ on the app and always I find a lot less problematic then episode.

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