Animal Jam - Play Wild!

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Animal Jam - Play Wild! App Poster Image
Kid community to collect, customize, and chat, not learn.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn a very limited amount of animal trivia and may pick up some lessons about interacting with others online. There are small pieces of animal trivia scattered throughout the playground-like world, which kids can tap to get a quick animal fact, very brief facts on each loading screen, and a location in the game with a small library of animal videos (all of which are available elsewhere on the Internet for free), but none of it promotes learning in a meaningful way. Also, kids sometimes scam each other through the trading mechanic, so while most of their interactions will be benign and fun, kids might learn that online interactions aren't always nice. This may be a reasonably fun game with opportunities for kids to be social, but the overwhelming message of Animal Jam - Play Wild! is one of consumerism, not animal awareness and conservation. 

Ease of Play

A lot of features and interactions and not all are intuitive. Only basic tutorial. On slightly older hardware, some buttons require a few taps before they respond.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

A lot of customizing via gems or spending real-world money. Best dens are showcased for everyone to see and feature content only available through purchase. Almost all player-to-player interactions in the game revolve around trading items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Animal Jam – Play Wild! is an online, social world where kids can create and customize their own animal avatar, build and modify their den, play games, and explore a variety of locations with other kids from around the world. There are lots of in-app purchases available, and kids will want to buy since customization is a focus. Though parental controls let families disable purchases or chat features, they're pretty easy for kids as young as 6 or 7 to bypass. Though this is a mostly safe place for kids, know that the overall experience revolves around collecting, buying, and trading items. While the terms of service are very clear about profanity, bullying, and other abuse, and chat is moderated, some players have figured out how to use the chat system to be inappropriate. Also note that kids sometimes scam each other out of collected items, so parents may want to use the online interaction as an opportunity to talk about digital citizenship. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFred stone May 30, 2016
My daughter loves animals. She has been subjected to foul language and theft of items. Beware.
Adult Written bySandy D. December 16, 2017

Great, but...

I have been letting my children, both 10 and 12 play Animal Jam Play Wild for ever since they've gotten their first device. Usually at around 10. Other par... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 6, 2016

Easy

It is too easy because they can buy animals and can choose colors and can look like real animals and they love. Also they want more money from twice old Animal... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 19, 2017

The best app!

After finding out about animaljam.com from my friend, and getting annoyed with being a nonmember (not having a paid membership), I came across this gem in the A... Continue reading

What's it about?

ANIMAL JAM – PLAY WILD! is an online virtual community where kids can create and customize an animal character and interact with other players in an open world of adventure. They can play mini-games, attend timed social events, collect items, trade them, chat with other players, send private messages, and invite players to play games. Parents who set up an account can control the type of chat their kids can use -- preselected text or typing -- though only approved messages will be visible to others, and outright profanity results in an account suspension. Throughout the game world, there are a few animal facts provided by National Geographic, and there's a location where kids can watch animal videos.

Is it any good?

While the graphics and animations are great, the games and social interactions are limited, and the learning content is very trivial. There's no doubt that the app is well-made and most kids could spend many happy hours playing, so the question of quality is more about whether it's time well spent. In many ways it's only a virtual version of collecting toys, with real-world dollars attached to digital objects. Ultimately, there are better alternatives to the mini-games and social spaces and better (physical) alternatives to the collecting features. If there were more focus on animals and nature and less on earning things, the experience would be much richer for the target age.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about safety online. What kinds of interactions are good and healthy, and what kinds might lead to trouble? What information is not safe to share online? How can you report the inappropriate behavior of other players? How do you create a strong password?

  • Talk about animals and their unique traits and evolutionary features, along with ways to enjoy and protect all creatures.

  • Discuss consumerism and basic economics. When other people spend money to have nicer things, how does that feel, and how can you have fun without breaking the bank?

App details

Themes & Topics

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