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Chinese whispers facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Chinese whispers—known as telephone in the United States—is an internationally popular children's game, in which the players form a line and the first person in the line whispers a message to the ear of the next person in the line, and so on, until the last player is reached, who announces the message to the entire group. The first person then compares the original message with the final version. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly from that of the first player, usually with amusing or humorous effect. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, the difficult-to-understand mechanism of whispering, and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said to guarantee a changed message by the end of the line.

The game is often played by children as a party game or on the playground. It is often invoked as a metaphor for cumulative error, especially the inaccuracies as rumours or gossip spread, or, more generally, for the unreliability of human recollection or even oral traditions.

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Chinese whispers Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.