A new host of smart phone applications that allow parents to call and text their kids posing as Santa Claus are being criticized by child psychologists.
The Parents Calling Santa app, Santa Christmas Naughty or Nice List, or the more laconic, Fake Call from Santa app, all allow parents to call their kids as Santa if they are misbehaving.
Psychologists say that such apps could be abused by parents.
They also risk making Santa and Christmas a threat, a period that should bring out joy rather than fear.
"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," said Australian psychologist John Irvine, according to UPI.
"What is the point in threatening something that you are not going to carry out? Is mum really going to cancel presents on Christmas Day?"
The apps basically work in the same way, with pre-recorded messages telling the child that he or she needs to be good, said the Herald Sun.
The Naughty or Nice app lets parents take photos of their child and then put the photo on a list the kid is sent, which tells him or her if she's "naughty" or "nice."