Huggy Wuggy is a character from the horror game Poppy Playtime, intended for children over the age of twelve. In it, the figure undergoes all kinds of trials that make him a deadly beast.
Huggy Wuggy is very popular on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. It is also sold as a stuffed animal in toy stores. According to many elementary schools and the Youth and Media Bureau, young children can see a monster as a result, when in fact that would be very scary for them.
Pedagogical Herald Hofmeyer already believes that young children should not come into contact with the beast. He told EditieNL, “Children can only distinguish between the real world and the imagination from the age of seven. So the Smurfs are like them to life.”
So the impact of Huggy Wuggy can be significant. “Imagine that you are lying in bed at night thinking that a scary monster might come. This is terrifying. Seeing scary characters in a series or video game can be distressing.”
Because children are sensitive to “scary” characters, Annemarie Mooren, director of children’s films and series, says, it is always difficult to find the right villain. “Kids are always looking for a bad character in the movie, so you need someone who is a little scary – but not either.”
Humor is often a good way to find a balance between the two. “If they seem a bit clumsy, stupid or crazy, that might take away the horror. It also helps show feelings and vulnerabilities.”
As for the villain’s appearance: “If you make him look like the rest, it takes a lot of effort to make him scary. But a character like the sexy ghost from Bassey and Adrian is really scary because of his looks,” explains Maureen.
In fact, that character was too scary for kids, agrees actor Ad van Tour, who played Adrien. “We noticed during our shows that kids hated it when the excitement came up,” he told EditieNL. “Sometimes we would wake up at night because the kids couldn’t sleep because of it.”
According to Van Toor, this is mainly due to the fact that the teasing spirit really wanted to destroy everything, had no sense of humor and wore a frightening mask.
It varies for each child
But not all children get goosebumps from it. It depends on the child’s personality how terrified they are at finding something. “One child is simply less anxious than the other,” says educator Hofmeyer.
He advises parents to determine what the child can and cannot see to prevent them from having nightmares. If they see something scary, discuss it or look at it again later together. Then you bring it back to the ‘normal’ world.
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