A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids have to buy a real-life Beanie Baby to get a code to play online. The colorful site has little substance -- especially since there's little to do for younger kids who aren't reading well and won't be interested in the chat. And, there's constant pressure from Beanieland's mayor to "make friends." On the plus side: Freestyle and prescripted chat options have lots of safety features (no bad words, numbers, commonplace names, etc.).
- Parents say
- Kids say
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nothing can happen if someone says theres bad things like drugs and language and mating there wrong its not a bad website
What's it about?
Is it any good?
Beanie Babies 2.0 doesn't hold its own among other more well-developed, buy-a-product-to-play sites. What little is here is strictly for fun, not educational purposes. There are a number of good safety features, like prescripted chats and a parent approval-only freestyle chat with a limited dictionary, but there's not enough quality content to keep kids who don't chat interested for long -- even though the site is described as a Web experience that "will unfold like a never-ending story." Also, it may be nearly impossible for most kids to withstand the social networking pressure here: Beanieland's mayor bear character's tinny voice makes plenty of reminders to kids to "make friends" and "build up your friends meter." Overall, Beanie Babies 2.0's chat, games, and simple rooms for kids to house their Beanie Babies in online just doesn't stand up to the hype. Kids would fare better just buying a regular Beanie Baby and making up their own games offline.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about chat etiquette, Internet safety, and virtual worlds. What's the best way to approach a new person online? Why would someone be mean to someone he or she never met? What can you say or do if another member (or real-life person) is mean to you? What social behaviors is a virtual world teaching? Do you think networking sites help build good relationships? Why or why not? How would you make friends offline? Families can talk about the pros and cons of computer play. How can you balance computer play with playing in the "real" world?