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Oct 5, 2021

Is Subway Surfers safe for kids? Digital Safety Guide for parents

Qustodio Team

Qustodio Team

Experts in digital safety

Tips to help your child stay safe during the back to school period
Do your kids love playing Subway Surfers? Or have they been talking to you about downloading it? Before getting started, we’re sure you have several questions, the most important being – “Is Subway Surfers safe for my child?” The answers are here: our Digital Safety Guide covers everything parents need to know about Subway Surfers.

Subway Surfers app ratings

Qustodio: 9+   

Apple: 9+ (Offers in-app purchases)

Android: PEGI 7 (Very mild forms of violence)

Common Sense: 9+

What is Subway Surfers?

Initially launched in May 2012 by game makers SYBO and Kiloo, Subway Surfers is what is known as an endless-runner game. In it, your kids can take on the role of the graffiti-tagging Jake or one of his friends, and try to escape from the grumpy Inspector and his dog. They run and run to avoid capture through the subway systems of famous cities around the world while collecting coins and dodging oncoming trains.

Subway Surfers is one of the most popular apps for kids. It has been installed more than 1.5 billion times and was the most downloaded video game of the last decade. Despite frequent collisions with oncoming trains, there is little to no violence or gore. It is a single-player game (except in China or on SnapChat) so there are no interactions with strangers. And in-app purchases are not required to advance. 

Is subway surfers safe for kids? Digital safety guide for parents

What do kids like about Subway Surfers?

  • It’s easy for kids to play, especially on a tablet. Kids just have to swipe in the direction they want to move or double-click to use the hoverboard.
  • Kids like the well-designed graphics and the sound track. You can get a taste of both in this video from the Subway Surfers World Tour 2020 – Edinburgh.
  • It’s fresh. The Subway Surfers game provides daily missions, season hunts, new locations and characters, so there is always something new for kids to discover.
  • They enjoy the challenge of gathering the golden coins and checking their score against their friends on the leaderboard.

Is Subway Surfers safe for kids?

  • Subway Surfers allows in-app purchasing. While the purchases aren’t pushed on players as heavily in other games, and aren’t required to advance, they do give players a tempting advantage. 
  • Parents should also know that the makers of Subway Surfers came under scrutiny for placing tracking software in the app without parents’ knowledge or consent,  in violation of privacy and fair business practice laws. The company has agreed to remove or disable tracking software that could be used to target children with ads, but they can still show contextual ads based on an app’s content.
  • In terms of violence, Subway Surfers is bloodless. Nevertheless, parents may object to the criminal themes in the game such as playing on the railroad tracks, tagging trains with graffiti and running away from the cops. 
  • Language in the Subway Surfers game is clean, though some parents and kids have complained of inappropriate language appearing in some advertising.

How can I make Subway Surfers safer for my child?

1. In Subway Surfers, like most games, parents should turn off in-app purchases and protect their password to avoid unauthorized or accidental purchases. Subway Surfers offers players coins to buy mystery boxes, buy characters and hoverboards powerups, skip missions and advance faster which, while not required advance, are tempting to kids. 

2. Don’t connect Subway Surfers to Facebook. Kids may want to connect their Subway Surfers account to Facebook to compete with friends and compare scores. This option only appears if they are legally considered an adult in their country. Your child may try to adjust their age to get this option. For maximum privacy and data protection, keep an eye on the age setting and don’t connect the accounts. 

3. Monitor play and play together. The best way to get to know the games your kids like to play is to play with them. When ads or in-app purchases appear, talk to your child about them. Let them know the techniques game makers and advertisers use to drive purchases.

Qustodio’s final advice on Subway Surfers

Overall, Subway Surfers is a safe game for kids to play, especially when in-app purchases are not allowed and you don’t connect the game to Facebook. We recommend parents play the game together with their children, and take advantage of the moment to talk to their kids about how online advertising works. And because this game has criminal themes, parents should also remind their children to avoid railroad tracks and graffiti tagging in real life.

How can Qustodio help protect your family?

Qustodio is the best way to keep your kids safe online and help them create healthy digital habits. Our parental control tools ensure they don't access inappropriate content or spend too much time in front of their screens.