Teaching Parents About Dark Patterns in Children's Digital Games

  • Forschungsthema:Teaching Parents About Dark Patterns in Children's Digital Games
  • Typ:B.Sc.
  • Betreuung:



Engaging with digital games poses challenges for children, mainly when designs include manipulative dark patterns. Many parents aiming to choose suitable games might need to realize how these patterns affect gameplay and exploit players. To bridge this awareness gap, we are developing an educational game targeted at parents. It will incorporate and explain dark patterns, aiming to highlight ethical game development and empower parents with the knowledge to make informed decisions, thus fostering a safer and more aware gaming environment for their children.


This topic investigates dark patterns in digital games aimed at children through the development of an educational game: Targeting parents, the thesis will create a game that embeds dark patterns, and later on explains them to players. From the perspective of media literacy, this approach can be used to foster an understanding of the role dark patterns play in game mechanics, and how they affect the player experience of children, allowing parents to make better choices of video games together with their kids. By comparing the design processes and outcomes of both versions, designers can discern how dark patterns influence game engagement, strategy development, and the overall dynamics of gameplay.  The game will further highlight the ethical dimension of game design, empowering customers to reflect upon designers’ intent and making informed choices when choosing games and avoiding manipulative practices.

Required Skills

Game Design Principles: Know the basics of game mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics, and user experience to create engaging games and recognize potential dark patterns.

Dark Patterns: Understand the types and implications of dark patterns in games, particularly for children.

Programming and Tools: Be familiar with game development platforms like Unity for creating and testing games.


  • Zagal, J. P., Björk, S., & Lewis, C. (2013). Dark patterns in the design of games. In Foundations of Digital Games 2013.
  • Dahlan, R., & Susanty, M. (2020). Finding dark patterns in casual mobile games using heuristic evaluation. Dissertations and Theses (CS).
  • Sousa, C., & Oliveira, A. (2023, September). The Dark Side of Fun: Understanding Dark Patterns and Literacy Needs in Early Childhood Mobile Gaming. In European Conference on Games Based Learning (Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 599-610).


If you are interested in this thesis, please send your CV, a transcript of records, and a short statement about your motivation to Meshaiel Alsheail, meshaiel.alsheail∂kit edu.