Innerstar University

Common Sense Media says

Buy American Girl, play in safe, positive virtual world.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

For American Girl doll owners, the site stresses self-expression and having confidence. The site's pledge asks girls to "follow their dreams" and "always do their best" -- and reminds them that they "can make a difference." There is an emphasis on traditionally girly things, like clothes, decor, and cheerleading.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

American Girl is a big brand that can eat into parent's pocketbooks quickly. This site revolves around owning one of the dolls and accessing the site using a code that comes with the doll. AG recently released a new book series based on the site that features special online endings and free access to the site for 14 days. The site currency -- called Stars -- is earned by completing tasks, and girls can use Stars to buy clothes and room decorations.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Since communication is prescripted, girls don't risk their privacy. A "Mom's View" page lets parents quickly view their daughter's latest medal- and award-related accomplishments.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that users must own an American Girl doll to access most areas of this upbeat virtual world. Once inside, the site's messages are positive and emphasize healthy self-esteem. Since girls communicate through prescripted messages, no personal information is shared and the space is a safe place for American Girl fans to play.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • addition
  • counting

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • personal growth

Emotional Development

  • persevering
  • self-awareness

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

There are several fun activities on the site, and thanks to the frequent positive messages for completing activities, Innerstar University aims to build girls' self-esteem.

Learning Approach

Most activities reinforce math, time management, and other skills in clever, fun ways; only a couple fail to illustrate their intended lesson.

Support

While girls won't get the what and why after giving an incorrect answer, the overall game feedback is admirably positive.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • addition
  • counting

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • personal growth

Emotional Development

  • persevering
  • self-awareness

Kids can learn about teamwork and sportsmanship in a cheerleading game and get basic math practice in a bake sale game. Girls also get tips on making homework fun, like pretending they're an actress and reading assignments aloud. Activities include background info on topics from ballroom dancing to the difference between user-submitted content and researched books. This fun site features an impressive focus on self-esteem and positivity.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Girls can access INNERSTAR UNIVERSITY with a code from a new American Girl Doll. A few games are available for free without a code. Girls receive awards for completing activities, which include a body confidence-building dance game and a music performance game encouraging dedication. The virtual world features an impressive focus on self-esteem and positivity; game intros outline ways to boost girls' self confidence and support them trying new things. Girls can also express themselves by decorating their room and choosing new avatar outfits.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Girls who purchase new My American Girl dolls or Innerstar University books receive a code to enroll in the INNERSTAR UNIVERSITY virtual world. The campus-like atmosphere includes a number of activities, such as playing lighthearted games, like one that lets girls try on different hairdos. Another activity, the Body Balance game, illustrates basic yoga moves and gives girls an encouraging, upbeat message when they finish playing. Awards and medals earned by playing the site's games are stored in an online yearbook. Girls also work to complete task-oriented projects that include exploring different sections of the site. To buy room decorations and outfits, users receive 1,000 Stars -- which are the site's currency -- when they enter.

There are several fun activities on the site, and thanks to the frequent positive messages for completing activities, Innerstar University aims to build girls' self-esteem. The only catch? Without an American Girl doll code to log in, class may let out quickly -- there isn't much to do.

Online interaction: Girls can invite friends to play certain games, friend other users, and send messages to each other through the site using pre-written messages.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about staying safe online. Why is it safer to use pre-written expressions when sending messages to people you don't know?

  • What kind of conversations or words should you watch out for on websites where you can send messages without any restrictions?

  • InnerstarU.com has games and other activities to make learning fun. How can you make school, homework, and reading more fun?

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Innerstar University was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old Written byhotiepie October 18, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

ilove every thing there

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 9 years old July 22, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Vey good website

I love this website for my kids! I am a parent of three year old boy, six year old boy and a nine year old girl. My girl LOVES Innerstar University. She told me she heard about it at school and how the kids at school like it. She didn't have a doll so she could not put in a doll code or star code. She tried the free preview. She said it was boring and unless you have a doll you cannot get all the unlock all the stuff. So I decided to carry her to the toy store to check out the doll. I mean, how much can it be? That thing was 100 bucks!!! I told her sorry I didn't have the money and if she wanted it she would have to save her own money to buy it.She got a book with innerstar university and they gave her a star code for 18 days preview. Well, she told me she loved it and she kept entering the code over and over again! I finally gave up and bought her the doll. Now she goes on it everyday!

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old Written byXpb November 25, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

unfair

I had bought a american doll BEFORE Innerstar University. My doll did not come with a code. Now I have to buy another exspensive doll to play! >:(

What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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