Bearville

 
(i)

 

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
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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

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What parents and kids say

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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 bearvilleinsider.com this will give you tips and secrets.
Kid, 8 years old February 16, 2013
 

I DONT LIKE IT :(

VERRY BORING UNLESS YOU HAVE A PET ! THEY DONT EVEN LET YOU HAVE A HOUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Parent of a 1, 3, 8, and 10 year old Written byJacobyShaddix32 November 27, 2009
 
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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