A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hello Kitty Online is a beautiful and easy to play online game with the very cute characters of Hello Kitty and all her friends, making it an attractive game to younger kids, especially girls. Although the content is ESRB rated E for Everyone, parents need to know that the website contains many social networking elements and provides kids personal emails, blogs and tools to make their own movies, and thus is more appropriate for players 13+ or who have the supervision of their parents. Hello Kitty Online is free to play, but monetizes through micro-transactions. There are two kinds of "currency" in the cash shop - one that is bought with real dollars, and one that is earned through social activity on the Hello Kitty website - such as posting on the forums, blogs and participating in various events.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In HELLO KITTY ONLINE, kids get to explore Sanrioland and meet Hello Kitty and all her friends, traveling to cities like Sanrio Harbor, Florapolis, London, Paris, and Beijing. Kids will met popular characters like Keroppi, Badtz-Maru, and Purrin and help them out with quests and favors. Kids learn the various aspects and features of the game as they go along, including the various tradeskills like cooking, sewing, gathering, foresting, and mining. They also are able to keep and take care of pets, play mini-games, grow crops on their farm, and build a house. The game is linear as you have to complete certain quests before you can move further along.
Is it any good?
Hello Kitty Online isn't just a game. It has intergrated a social website into the game as well. Kids signing up for Hello Kitty Online also get a personal Hello Kitty Online email and blog. By clicking on a friend's character in-game, kids can email them, or view their blogs and uploaded videos. In the game portion, there's plenty to do in Sanrioland. Unlike most MMOs where the gameplay involves killing, in this MMO, kids have to learn skills and complete quests to advance in this game. The little combat that there is consists of whacking cartoon characters until they are stunned or fall asleep; and the only reason to whack them is to gather materials from them for other tradeskills, to complete quests, or to collect them as pets. This is a refreshingly sweet MMO.
Online interaction: There are many Game Masters in game to guide players and create a cooperative and fun atmosphere, but the game has open chat which can lead to not so positive experiences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Internet Safety and what they should and should not talk about while online. What sort of information shouldn't you share? How much information do you think is safe to share with a new friend? How do you know they are who or what they say they are?
Families can also talk about Online Behavior and Cyberbullying. Why do kids behave differently on the playground, than they do online?
Families also can talk about Online Consumerism. Why do you have to spend real dollars on getting that special outfit? Is your avatar looking "Cool" worth the money or are there better things you can do with it?
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