Ads featuring guns pop up on apps meant for kids

SEATTLE -- An app that lets kids decorate cookies and cupcakes also features advertisements for violent games across the screen, leaving some parents to wonder if the content is age appropriate.

Michelle Mills, who is the wife of a Fisher employee, wants other parents to know that just because you control what your kids download doesn't mean you control what they see.

Michelle's 5-year-old daughter uses the free Cookie Maker app, which is supported by advertisements and always has a banner across the screen.

She has a folder of games on her parents' iPad, but one of her favorites is Cookie Maker, where she can bake and decorate cookies.

The other night, she was playing Cookie Maker with her younger sister when her dad noticed something odd on the screen. It was a banner ad displaying a row of four flashing guns across the top.

"It's hard enough to control what children see and hear without having something that should be completely innocuous have a gun pop up on a screen," Michelle said.

She said when you click on the app, it takes you to a graphic military game called Modern War. That game is rated for people 12-years old and older.

Internet safety expert Linda Crindle said it's the responsibility of the game providers to make sure what's on the screen is appropriate.

"It's hard to see the right benefit. I can't see too many 4-year olds going, 'Oh, let's go over and shoot,'" Crindle said.

The guns aren't just showing up on the Cookie Maker app, either. Ads using guns were also found on another similar game made by Crazy Cats Media app, which was also free and supported with banner ads.

Criddle said parents concerned about the content should buy the app so there are no ads on the game. They should also complain to the app developer, she said.

"There's a spectrum of ethic standards with companies and you have to thread your way through there and look at it and protest loudly when you don't like what you see," she said.

Michelle said from now on she'll be paying closer attention to what comes across the screen when her kids are using the iPad.

KOMO News emailed the developers of both games but did not get a response.