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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dora Links is a $59.99 13-inch Dora the Explorer doll that connects to a PC's USB port and interacts with the companion Web site, lighting up at different moments and speaking at others. The doll is also a receiver for updated games and additional mysteries, as even when it is not attached to the computer, the Dora Links doll can let users know when new features have been added. Some of the Web features are "locked" and require an in-game purchase (with real money) for access. You don't have to buy them to enjoy the game, but kids might ask for them.
Dora Links has grown up a bit from her preschool adventures, and today is a chic tween. Her animal buddies have been replace by a band of girlfriends who go on socially-concious challenges with her.
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Is it any good?
Although the feisty little tomboy Dora the Explorer has morphed into a bit of a fashionista, there is a lot to love about the more mature Nickelodeon character. Because of the doll's ability to receive updates via the Internet, this toy is relatively a good value, although it does carry an initially steep price tag -- and you'll have to decide whether you'll want to shell out additional money for in-game purchases. The online adventures take place in the plush Mexican landscape of a fictional town called Puerto Verde. Here there is a lot to do and kids will find no shortage of stops to explore, like the beach, town square, and school. Kids can play with Dora and her friends here, solving mysteries, and chipping in for the community. The site lacks online interaction with other users, a feature kids might not be happy about, but parents might appreciate.
Online interaction: Young users can interact with fictional Dora characters, but there is no way to chat or communicate with other players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the new Dora has changed. Do you like the new look of this familiar character or do you miss the little girl that she used to be? Do you think it makes sense for a character to grow up with her fans?
Families can talk about gender stereotypes. The younger Dora was interested in animals and always wore the same clothes. Today's older Dora has many different outfits and lots of fashion accessories, from jewelry to headbands. Do most girls become more interested in fashion and appearance as they get older? Is this a good or bad thing?
Families can talk about setting screen time limits. This is a game that is designed to lead you to solve mysteries and explore a content-rich online world. Do you think it is more difficult to leave cyberspace when there are this many fun things to do online? Does it make it more difficult when the Dora doll alerts you to new online features that have just been added?
Families can talk about learning to handle money responsibly. In this interactive world, you can earn virtual cash. Because it is easy to earn this pretend money, does it make spending it easier?