A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that they have to buy a Bratz doll with a USB cable ($10 to $20) for their kid to play on this site. Similar to Webkinz.com or UBFunkeys.com, this is a pay-to-play setup. Like comparable sites, the commercial aspect of earning points and then "buying" items remains an unsettling trend in online play for tweens (and even younger!). The many safety measures on the site help protect kids from mean comments from other users or personal information being posted on the site, and parents must approve the texting option (predefined messages or no texting at all). But, the buy-optional webcam for "face to face" chatting drops the site's safety points. And there's not much one can do to protect users from the typical Bratz messages: Girls need skimpy clothes, lots of make-up, toothpick-thin legs, and a map of the mall to get Girl Power... and, maybe more importantly, a boyfriend.
What's it about?
BE-BRATZ.COM is another site in the consumer trend that requires parents to buy their kids a toy to play on a Web site (think Webkinz.com, UBFunkeys.com, and MyePets, just to name a few). Once you use the USB cable to access the site and create a user name and password, there's really no need to ever use it again unless you forget your user name and password. There's a lot of fashion fun, quizzes, games, and interactive elements (caring for your virtual pet) in a relatively safe online environment for Bratz fans. Parents can opt their child out of being able to use the site's messaging feature completely, or they can set messaging to predetermined text.
Is it any good?
As with similar sites, the commercial aspect of earning points and then "buying" items remains an unsettling trend. And if you're one of many parents who generally disagrees with the Bratz line's message to girls, avoid this site like a Bratz doll avoids all shirts that cover her waist.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Bratz marketing. How much money (and time) do you consider worthwhile to spend on Bratz dolls and accessories, video games, and DVDs? Families can also talk about whether the Bratz girls are accurate representations of real girls. Does the appearance of the Bratz dolls add to the pressure of being thin?
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