Game Will Terrify Your Kids Into Never Going Outside Again

Game Will Terrify Your Kids Into Never Going Outside Again
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Spring has returned in the north, a time when children across the country turn off their video game consoles and venture out into the woods, building tree forts and rolling about in the underbrush. That is, until they play Tick Tackler. Then they’re never going outside again.

Did you know there are tiny bugs lurking outside, waiting to burrow into your skin and give you a disease that could, in the most extreme cases, cause complete paraplegia? Isn’t nature wonderful?

Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease, which means the number of cases is expected to increase in the near future. Cause by several types of bacteria, this disease first manifests as fever, headaches, fatigue, and depression. Left untreated, it can spread to the joints, heart, and central nervous system.

All that from a tiny little insect that just wants to feed on your blood. Or the blood of your pets.

Yes, outside is a wonderful place.

In order to help combat the spread of Lyme disease, the Lyme Disease Association and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey have partnered to create a pair of learning tools that are sure to make young children and adults alike never want to leave the house without a full-set of skin-tight body armour.

First up is a video gleefully named TickLES, a passive tool for teaching children about the big, scary outdoors.

But we’re far more interested in Tick Tackler, a free online game that shows children how to properly arm themselves in the battle against tiny spider-like creatures they can barely see.

Tick Tackler begins with a young boy named Jack having a nightmare about an army of ticks invading his town.

Waking up, he begins getting ready for his upcoming camping trip. The player has 90 seconds to fill Jack’s backpack with things that will prevent him from becoming infested with disease carrying bugs. The game encourages the player with helpful messages. Place a pair of socks in the bag, for instance, and the game tells you “Right! This will prevent ticks from crawling up Jack’s leg.”

That should be enough to terrify any child. It scared the hell out of me. Then I imagined the sort of places ticks could go once they made it up the leg, and I had to step away for a moment.

In case they still need convincing, they can move on to the second stage, in which Jack and his friends wander haphazardly about the forest, unmindful of the dangers lurking everywhere. Jack must grab his friends and take them to a safe zone, which in this case is a tony tent in the corner of the screen. The rest of the screen? INFESTED WITH TICKS.

I didn’t have to go any further. The only time I’ll be leaving the house this spring and summer is to run to the store for supplies, and even then I am wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt, preferably tucked into gloves.

So if you’re afraid of your child wandering outside and getting covered with disease carrying insects, hit up the link below to scare the living hell out of them.

NEW! Free & Fun Lyme Prevention Video Game for Kids [Lyme Disease Association]


  • When I was in Vanuatu I found a hole in my leg about half a cm wide. Feeling no pain I realised whatever had bitten me had aneasthetised the area. Not trusting hospitals I grabbed a bottle of vodka and some tweezers and dug around inside the hole and dragged out the head of some tick like organism and within minutes I was relieved to find I could feel the pain of the hole this thing had dug into me. I placed it in a specimen jar to take home but of course customs confiscated when I came back in. So I still don’t know what it was. But I’ve got a nice little scar on my leg to prove it’s all true.

  • “All that from a tiny little insect that just wants to feed on your blood. Or the blood of your pets.”

    Ticks aren’t insects. They are arachnids. Count the legs – 8.

  • My daughter is extremely ill from Lyme, bartonella and babesia, all from the same tick bite. There is nothing funny about it. If a video game can teach kids and parents how to safely hike in the woods, great! We don’t scoff at teaching hikers about forest fire prevention or avoiding poison berries or mushrooms. Why would we joke about preventing one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the world, Lyme disease and its co-infections? We can all benefit by learning how to safely remove a tick. Thank you, Lyme Disease Association and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey!

    • Since my comment seems to have disappeared into the ether, I’m putting it in as a reply to Morningchild’s comment (at her suggestion)…

      Ticks can cause Lyme Disease, and other infections & need to be taken seriously. My daughter was paralysed last year & almost died from Lyme Disease & the co-infections that came from the same tick bite & I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Teaching kids (& adults) to be careful about ticks is important – just as teaching kids (& adults) to wear their seatbelt is important (those road safety ads on TV can be scary too, but their a necessary evil). Lyme Disease is endemic in the US, and is a growing problem in Australia. If you’ve been bitten, make sure you are very CAREFUL how you remove the tick (don’t squeeze the tick & don’t put anything on the tick to make it let go – it causes the tick to inject it’s infectious contents into you). Go to your Dr and get 3 weeks of Doxycycline to prevent getting Lyme Disease & keep an eye out for symptoms of early Lyme Disease in the future. The most common age for someone to be infected with Lyme Disease is 5-14 – so this game seems a good way to teach them about being tick aware whilst enjoying the outdoors – prevention is better than cure (and being sick for many many years). For more information about Lyme Disease & how to safely remove a tick, go here or here
      Nikki Coleman
      President Lyme Disease Association of Australia

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