What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Club Penguin app is very similar to the website, although Club Penguin fans will notice some differences. The app includes 10 games, filtered chat features, and an igloo to decorate for each penguin, just like on the website. Kids can adopt two pet puffles without a membership or up to 40 puffles, including the dog and cat, with a paid membership. Players get rewarded for playing on the app daily with "fresh sushi pieces," which they use in a special game that can help them earn coins, and there are other app-only features. At the time of this review, there were no secret agent missions on the app, only on the website. Kids need a membership to purchase many items for the igloo and some penguin clothes, but the games are available without a membership.
What's it about?
Kids dress and decorate a home for their virtual penguin avatar. They also adopt and care for puffles, communicate with other kids via their penguins, and play games (Card-Jitsu or Mancala) with other penguins. Players also buy stuff with online "coins” that they earn playing games, and participate in other community- and game-based activities. Secret agent missions are some of the more detailed, multi-step activities on the site. Also, a community newspaper and other activities encourage online citizenship and more meaningful online dialogue and play.
Is it any good?
CLUB PENGUIN is a cool way for kids to get their feet wet in the world of social networking and online gaming -- as long as parents use the site's parental controls and kids are taught how to block rule breakers and report any bad behavior. On the site, kids dress their penguin up, waddle around the many different areas of the virtual world -- all with cool themes -- and play fun games. Players should be able to find their friends' penguins more easily -- but still remain anonymous -- with the new friends list.
The new chat tool includes only phrases that have been approved by monitors. Some 300,000 of the most used phrases were mined from chat logs to create the approved list; kids can use these words and phrases in so many combinations that it should not feel limiting. The end result is that kids are safer but still have more opportunities for real conversation than with highly scripted chat.
The Club Penguin app is a fun way to play on the go in this popular virtual world. Kids who have played on Club Penguin's website likely will miss a few of the games and features on the website, but not on the app; still, much of the website content is now on the app, including the ability to adopt puffles.
Virtual coins -- which paid members can earn via games or the Puffle Launch app -- are used to buy virtual clothes for penguins or the latest gear for igloos. Unfortunately, there's very little you can spend the coins on if you're not a paid member.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about chat etiquette, Internet safety, and virtual worlds. Read our Club Penguin tips for more advice.
Review our Internet Safety Tips for Elementary School Kids for age-specific advice on safe surfing.
If your kid loves Club Penguin and plays on the website and the app (and on another CP app, Puffle Launch, and Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force, the DS game), it's easy to pile on the screen time. Talk with your child about the computer-time limits you set both in general and on the parental controls for Club Penguin specifically so your kids don't spend too much of their day online.
Ask your kid to show you what she's creating and doing -- the fun igloos she's decorating, the fashionable outfits she's choosing for her penguin, and her puffle collections -- as a way to encourage her to share what she's doing online.