Archive for November, 2009

Online games for kids - are they safe?

Online games are fun. They are free and easy to access. The games are usually simple and the large variety available makes them appealing to almost everyone. 

This makes online games very popular amongst kids. I can see my three children coming from school every day and rushing to the computer looking for new games on the net. They play all kinds of games - sports games, strategy games and their favorite - adventure games.

As a gaming freak, this is a dream come through. Wow, my kids really like games. I can retire now. But as a parent, is it really good for them?

On one hand, online games provide a lot of excitement for kids, develop their curiosity and improve their senses. They are also a way to create communication with people, contemplate, learn history and strategy, and experience interesting tasks and roles.

On the other hand, online games might also have bad influence on kids exposing them to improper content such as violence, sex and foul language.

Some sites also come with built in chat applications, which are usually not moderated. Kids their find themselves chatting with adults which not always have proper intentions.   

I searched for sites that provide content for children, high moderation and safe chat, but also great excitement to my children. After all, I don’t want them to be bored and bother me while I’m raiding with my guild in World of Warcraft…
 

One of my children’s favorites in Club Penguin - http://www.clubpenguin.com/

It offers a variety of fun penguin avatars, activities, chat and games. Their chat limits what users can say to a predefined menu of greetings, questions and statements, as well as emotes, actions and greeting cards - seems perfectly safe to me. There is also a timer allowing parents to set a limit for the amount of time spent on the computer and Club Penguin. Best of all, there’s no third-party advertising. On the downside, many features are not free, and your kids are bound to ask you to upgrade to the monthly subscription.

 clubpenguin

 

Another option is Webkinz (http://www.webkinz.com/) with plush pets that comes with a unique Secret Code which allows to enter the Webkinz World where the aim is to care for your virtual pet, answer trivia, earn KinzCash, and play games, offers the same “parents control” and peace of mind as Club Penguin.

And all the idea of growing a pet is very educational. But Webkinz costs money. You cannot enter the world if you don’t have the secret code attached to the pet. Your browser may not support display of this image.

webkinz

An upcoming game to look for is The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks (http://www.wiglingtonandwenks.com/) is scheduled to launch on Christmas 2009. It promises an experience in which players will be able to travel to places around the world, through time and space, meet famous historical people, play dozens of fun enriching games, make new friends, buy exotic islands, build culture-inspired houses, wear clothes from different countries, explore secret locations, solve mysteries and become a legendary traveler.

Protecting children from bad influences on the Internet, The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World has developed a set of proprietary safety features such as:

No Numbers, A system that cleverly filters out telephone numbers and addresses to prevent the exchange of sensitive information, No URL Links, URL links are disallowed to prevent the dissemination of inappropriate websites, No Vulgarities, No Private Messaging, etc.  

Another very nice site is I Know That (http://www.iknowthat.com/)- it offers a broad collection of educational activities and games.

Each activity is designed to give the experiences and access to content needed to meet standards and benchmarks in that subject. Charts, graphs and progress report emails give the parents a quick, easy ways to review the child’s achievements.

iknowwhat

Hope it helps.

Love to hear your comments.

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 Uncategorized No Comments