Psychologists are concerned over Santa apps, which allow parents to send phone calls or text messages posing as Santa Claus to their misbehaving kids.
Some of the apps that allow this are Parents Calling Santa, Santa Christmas Naughty or Nice List, or Fake Call from Santa.
But psychologists are less than thrilled about the applications, believing that they could be abused by parents and also risk making Santa and Christmas a threat to children during a time that should bring joy.
Australian psychologist Dr. John Irvine spoke with UPI about the apps, saying:
“These kinds of apps have made the Santa threat much more real and immediate and they could be abused by some parents in the lead-up to Christmas Day. What is the point in threatening something that you’re not going to carry out? Is mum really going to cancel presents on Christmas Day?”
Irvine went on to say, “Empty threats are not useful as kids soon realize that there are no consequences.” While the Santa apps are a new invention in the Santa threat, threats like this have been around for generations.
Fake Call From Santa is a free app compatible with iPhone OS 4.3 or later. It provides an incoming call only with no voice on the line. Parents Calling Santa is another app, which costs $1.99 on the iPhone platform. It gives parents the option of selecting three calls that Santa can make.
The calls are “well done,” “could do better,” or “must improve or you will get a lump of coal for Christmas.” The third app is Santa’s Christmas Naughty or Nice and is listed on the iOS platform for 99 cents. It lets parents take a photo of the child and decide if it pops up under the naughty or nice list.
While the Santa apps are designed to promote good behavior, it is possible that parents can also abuse them.