Blogglebeans

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
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Brings kids and grandparents together, but pricey, shallow.

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Positive Messages

Promoting a relationship between kids and their grandparents is a great idea.

Consumerism

Games are

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blogglebeans is a website where kids and their grandparents can connect online. Through messages, games, and gift-giving, its goal is to support a positive relationship between generations. However, the offerings are kind of superficial; "gifts" are expensive and often just glorified e-cards, and the games aren't super-engaging. The design is lovely and there's a lot of potential for this unique idea, but at this point, an old-fashioned phone call might be the better choice.

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What's it about?

Blogglebeans is a one-to-one animated experience grandparents build for their grandchildren. Through Blogglebeans, grandparents and grandchildren can share gifts, games, activities and messages featuring the characters of Bloggleton. Grandparents sign up with an email and password; they'll also need to provide a parent's email so they can consent to the grandkid being contacted. Grandparent users choose a username, like Ganny28 or Pop-pop, and then have the option to send their grandkids a message from their account. Kids will have their own accounts confirmed after parents give the okay.

Is it any good?

It's a really neat idea. The kid/grandparent relationship hasn't really been explored this way online, and the design is charming and appealing to both parties. As baby boomers are rapidly becoming grandparents a few times over, it's more likely that they'll be avid internet users as opposed to luddites, and may want ways to connect with family online. However, Blogglebeans may not be the most powerful way to do that. They've got some of it down; great design, cute characters, and an easy interface, but the actual offerings are lacking. Using the site can get really expensive really quickly. Gifts, many of which are just glorified video-style e-cards, can cost up to $3.99 each. There are better, much more interactive ways to spend money and show grandkids love and attention. Plus, there are weird costs. Grandparents can send messages to kids for free, but for a kid to respond, it costs $2.99. Why? Games like Sneaky Bean, a classic "shell game," look lovely but are repetitive; they're unlikely to keep kids engaged for very long.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Give your kids an idea of what their grandparents' lives were like they were very young. Rotary phones, writing letters, and even telegrams were common ways to communicate. What would it be like without email, iPhones, or Skype?

  • Families can talk about what it means to stay close even when members are scattered across the globe. How can you tell someone you love them in a drawing or a poem?

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