FooPets

Common Sense Media says

Virtual pet site almost worthless without paid membership.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The concept of learning how to care for real-life pets by caring for a virtual pet may work for some kids.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Players can "breed" their virtual pet when it reaches a certain age.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Heavy sales push to pay for ClubFoo premium membership and to buy items for pets. On the positive, the site is ad-free.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Could vary widely depending upon whether the player is interacting with the social networking aspect of the site that's tied in with Facebook and MySpace. Paid members can also openly chat with other paid members, though parents have some control over interaction if kids are 13 or younger. Parents are notified when their child creates an account via the email address he or she submits at registration. If players are under 13, they are supposed to get parent/guardian permission to join ClubFoo (and they'd need a credit card to pay the membership fees). 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that unless you want to pay $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year for a ClubFoo premium membership, this popular virtual world pet site has limited things for kids to do. Players can adopt adorable, amazingly true-to-life-looking dogs and cats, and play with and feed them. But the virtual world with social networking and lots of creative features (like "breeding" your pet with another to have a litter of puppies or kittens) can only be accessed with ClubFoo membership, and if you're under 13 with parental permission. Members can chat with other members and post comments and in the forums, not all of which are tween appropriate. Members also receive frequent emails urging them to log onto the site to care for the pet. This is not a kids-only site, so parents may want to check in often. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • pets

Skills

Communication

  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Realistic consequences motivate kids to care; if they forget to feed a pet or clean its litter box, it'll get sick or won't play. Still, money, shopping, and socializing are emphasized more than the real needs of cats and dogs.

Learning Approach

As kids demonstrate responsible pet ownership, they earn rewards like FooDollars, badges, and access to new levels.

Support

A monitored forum connects kids who want to discuss their virtual pets, sell items, breed, make suggestions, or just talk about other tween things.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • pets

Skills

Communication

  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Kids will learn about pet care in playful ways. They learn about responsibility to provide food, water, and play on schedule; there’s even a virtual kennel if kids will be away for a few days. Quality pet care earns all kinds of rewards and benefits. A store stocks sells practical and outlandish items to house and entertain pets. The site leans toward its currency, shopping, and socializing more than it delivers lessons about the real needs of cats and dogs.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Once kids adopt and name a pet, they have a few tools to ensure it stays healthy. Pets must get food, water, and playtime about once every 24 hours and email reminders help kids stay on schedule. Arcade-style games earn FooDollars to use for food and other items at the store. Kids can add friends, play with their friends' pets, and even breed with other pets, provided the pets are old enough and the owners have the proper licensure. If kids catch their pet being adorable, they can take a photo and post it to a gallery or brag about it in the pet owners forum.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The realistic images and engaging game play for these virtual pets is impressive, and it's easy for players -- kids, teens, and adults -- to be hooked by cuteness alone. The site, created by a vet, also presents good information about responsible pet ownership and the realities of pet care. But the heavy push to join the pay-to-play membership may cause many tweens to beg more than their virtual pets. FOO PETS also sends a lot of emails to the account with which players register for site access (which is supposed to be a parent account for kids under 13), including e-alerts to let you know if you haven't fed your pet or it otherwise needs some sort of care.

Online interaction: Opportunities to meet other Foo Pets owners and share pet care responsibilities if your child is 13 or older, or gets your permission, as well as play games and interact with other pet owners. Interaction is generally positive, but some mild name-calling happens in the forums.

Families can talk about...

  • What features on a virtual world make it safer for kids? Check out Common Sense Media's guide to virtual worlds for young kids.

  • What is the difference is between a virtual pet and a real pet. Do you think a site like this makes kids more in tune to the needs of a real pet, or less so?

  • Like so many other websites, Foo Pets ties heavily into Facebook. Parents, if you don't already know how to use Facebook and if your tween or teen is on it, read Common Sense Media's Parents' Guide to Facebook and discuss what you learn about this site with your kids.

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of FooPets 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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall 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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 14 year old Written bybewareparents November 24, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Foopets borders on fraud and breaks children's hearts.

Anyone who lets their kids play on this site is a fool. You now have to pay money to play on here and their terms of service say that they can delete any content at any time. So basically, your kids pay for pets and items that can be deleted tomorrow. .............It is supposed to be for 13 and older only....but anyone who plays on this site is only getting ripped off...... The biggest problem is that they sell you pets and items for your pets that have a price. Then they have a marketplace where kids can trade things. That would be a great teaching tool if Foo didn't constantly change the rules. One day my child bought a pet that cost 15.00 dollars (once converted to real money) and the next day foo changed the price of that pet to 5 dollars. My child was crying her eyes out. Then they had a way for you to "earn" foogems so you can buy pets with them....after months of earning these gems foo suddenly and without any notice stopped the practice and now all her hard work was for nothing. She cannot get the pet she worked for because they yanked it from her. Further, customer service on this site is downright abusive. They attack parents who complain and tell them repeatedly either to keep paying or shut up. And if you really complain loudly, they delete your account and keep all your child's pets and delete them all. This site is a rip off. Don't believe me? Here is a quote from their terms of service: "FooMojo has the right to change, edit, modify, delete or discontinue (a) any feature, function, description, process, art, images, and / or format on FooPets (b) any part of all of FooPets website and/or applications, (c) restrict access to parts of all of FooPets at any time without notice. Simply put, we may change this site or delete content or features or any services provided in any way or any time and for any reason or no reason." You would have to be a fool to give money to a site that claims they can keep your money and give you nothing in return any time they please. Can anyone tell me if this is even legal? Keep people away from this site!
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent of a 10 year old Written bydewl April 9, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
Foo Pet executives have again joined the ranks of corporate mentality. We are back to the "have" and the "have nots". After permitting children and youths to perhaps enjoy "playing" and "feeding" their "virtual" pets without paying any money these corporate bullies are taking away these kids "pets" because they do not have money as of April 26th 2011. Foo Pets always had "pay" things for those that had the money but now if you don't have any money you cannot have your pet anymore that you have diligently fed, watered, walked and played with for years. Shame on the Foo Pet money hungry corporation bullies.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byFeathersong February 19, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

The truth; from a non-biased POV.

FooPets is a great site with cute virtual pets and a friendly community. I've made some great friends on there in the almost 2 years I've been on there, and I've even grown quite attached to a few of my kittens! The fact that this site is now pay-to-play triggers some negative comments from those who weren't willing to pay, and from those who are because they actually enjoy the site enough to pay to want to stay on it. A lot of people did stay, which says a lot about how much they like it. As for the complaints about language and security: The Foo-Admin are active on the forums all the time, and if not reported, inappropriate behaviour is quickly spotted and stopped. This kind of behaviour is very rare, and is punishable by suspension from the site, so people who do certainly get the message not to. Security-wise, FooPets is pretty safe. The only times that security becomes an issue is when someone gives away their personal details, such as email, FaceBook information, etc, or by not having a secure enough password. If you have a password that doesn't contain any information that anyone else might know, and you don't use a 'Foo email' for your login, then you're fine! I have only seen this happen a few times, and it has never happened to me. I'm not sure if FooPets is of much educational benefit, but it certainly is fun! The community is great, people are friendly, and the pets are realistic and cute. There are some rare pets to 'buy', which can be obtained by purchase with 'FooDollars' or by filling out applications. In a way, this can teach people about budgeting and can encourage them to think about what they're writing. It seriously is a good site, and is very much suitable for children from ages 10 and above.
What other families should know
Great messages

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