Common Sense Media says

Safe virtual world promotes positivity -- and products.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site provides a safe, friendly environment for kids to socialize. Sharing and being helpful are encouraged. Veteran users can apply to be "Jr. CyBearGuides," who help new users get acquainted with the virtual world and answer their questions. On the downside, the site places a lot of emphasis on fashion and shopping -- especially for Build-A-Bear products.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

To access the site's full array of features, users must own a Build-A-Bear. There are links to the Build-A-Bear product site, as well as ads for other websites. Also, kids can collect virtual money and use it to buy clothing, accessories, etc. within the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Users 13 and older must provide an email address to register. (Younger users must provide a parent's email address.) User names are generated by the site to ensure anonymity. Chat is scripted or filtered.

For users younger than 13, parents have to activate an account and can decide which type of chat their child can use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this friendly virtual world was created by the Build-A-Bear Workshop, which sells customizable bears and other stuffed animals online and in stores. Certain site features are restricted to visitors who own a Build-A-Bear toy (which comes with a code) -- this may frustrate kids and prompt them to ask for one. Otherwise, the site is a safe and pleasant place for kids to play online.

Parents say

Is it any good?


Kids who've bought a Build-A-Bear stuffed animal will get the most out of BEARVILLE. The site's centerpiece is a virtual world that allows visitors to bring their furry friends along for games and other activities. Any kid who registers can visit the virtual world, but without a toy, they won't have access to the full range of activities. Still, there's a lot to do on this colorful site. One highlight is the Friendship Forest Photo Safari -- point and click to capture photos of animals as they fly or scurry across the lush landscape, and check out the resulting photo album. In addition to a slew of games, there’s video content, such as the web series “Craftshop,” which teaches kids how to make fun fashions on the cheap. Despite the ever-present prompts to buy Bearville gear, this bustling world does a good job keeping kids engaged -- and safe.

Online interaction: Kids can "friend" other users and trade items. There are two chat options: safe chat, which limits users to a pre-approved list of common phrases, and open filtered chat, which checks chat against a dictionary of approved words. (Parents can also turn chat off entirely.)

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about online safety and what's appropriate to share on online.

  • Talk about how much time kids spend online. Parents can review our online worlds tips.

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Bearville was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byCJJDSMOM May 22, 2009

Cute Website for Kids

I started off playing this with my son when he got his first stuffed animal. I didn't have an animal then and could still play games with him and shop with him in the stores that only require coins that you earn. As he got more comfortable with it, he could do it on his own and has a lot of fun. It helps to be able to read, or else the parent will need to be there with the child all the time. The characters can talk to each other, and now it's VERY safe because they have a menu to choose from. There are characters who have a blue hat who are "Jr. Cybear Guides" and they can help a newbie navigate the site. They keep adding new features to it, such as beach front homes .... It definately is tied in to merchandise - the more you buy at the real store the more you can convert them to speacial bear bills there to buy exclusive items. However, it still is a lot of fun without ANY purchase. That makes this site unique to others like webkins ... A companion site is this will give you tips and secrets.
Kid, 8 years old February 16, 2013


VERRY BORING UNLESS YOU HAVE A PET ! THEY DONT EVEN LET YOU HAVE A HOUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teen, 16 years old Written byfantasy_faerie January 24, 2011

Great game-- but if you love it, you might want to buy a furry friend

CONCERNS Violence: There is no violent content in BABV, and violent talk is not possible as BABV only allows certain words. Sex: There is no sexual content in BABV, and sexual talk is not possible as BABV only allows certain words. Language: Swearing is not possible at BABV since BABV only allows certain words. Consumerism: Players must purchase a "furry friend" in real life to get full access to BABV's content. Drinking/Drugs/Smoking: Not an issue. HIGHLIGHTS Educational: Not much educational value. Positive Messages: BABV encourages players to love bears. Safety: BABV is pretty secure. User Content: Players can submit their own content to the Bearville Times.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide