What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mattel has gone to great lengths to make this girl-centric world a safe place to be. Chat is scripted or filtered, blocking profanity and the exchange of personal information. Girls are encouraged to embrace all things Barbie, and the site's focus is squarely on beauty, fashion, and shopping. The site often prompts girls to upgrade to a premium membership.
Is it any good?
Popular tween destination BARBIEGIRLS is decked out with the standard virtual world features -- including chatting, shopping, and furnishing a room -- all done up in pink. Activities range from arcade-style games to more creative endeavors, like designing and selling a clothing line. Although it’s nicely designed and easy to navigate, there’s not much that’s unique about this world, other than its connection to the eponymous doll. Many of the more interactive features are restricted to users who’ve upgraded to a VIP membership or purchased a special MP3 player. On the plus side, the site offers several chat options and a special companion site for parents.
Online interaction: Girls can "friend' each other and chat (scripted or filtered only).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether Barbie -- and the Barbie-like avatars on this site -- reflect what girls really look like, and how narrow ideals of beauty can affect girls' body image. Families can also discuss the importance -- or lack thereof -- of being trendy and always having a new outfit to show off. When does fashion cross the line from expressing yourself to following the flock?