GaiaOnline

Common Sense Media says

Iffy content + constant consumerism = caution.

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

Users talk openly about personal issues and often don't seem to respect boundaries.

Violence

Discussions involving violence sometimes appear in forums.

Sex

The boards are rife with threads referencing sexual acts and talking about sex in general.

Language

Without the optional filter on, strong language such as "f--king" appears on the threads from time to time.

Consumerism

Kids are taught to earn money ("Gaia Gold") to buy things.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, drugs, and smoking all appear in forum threads, and sometimes are glorified.

Privacy & safety

Lots of potential risk. While the site does remind users of some of the privacy basics (don't give out personal information, don't share your password, don't share embarrassing personal stuff), kids using the site can do all of this and more. According to its privacy policy, Gaia also collects quite a bit of information about its users, automatically tracks their behavior, and shares some information with third parties. Users may opt to connect their Gaia account to their Facebook profile.

Gaia offers "Information and Tips for Parents," but no parental controls.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while Gaia Online may attract young teens with its lively graphics, games, and opportunities to socialize with other kids, if you don't turn the filter on, adult language and topics are common. There's no doubt that your teen will stumble upon threads discussing "masturbation myths and fads" and "WTF moments" in a matter of minutes. The site also pushes kids to buy buy buy with their Gaia Gold virtual currency. The positive side of that is it teaches kids about money -- and to save up for something they like.

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • following codes of conduct

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Gaia Online may attract young teens with its lively graphics, games, and opportunities to socialize with other kids who are into anime. Kids may also be drawn to inappropriately adult content on the site.

Learning Approach

Kids can feel empowered with a space and place to express themselves. Starting with the creation of an avatar, kids have choices about how they present themselves.

Support

While some users may find support and camaraderie in the forums, there's also a lot of negativity. Parents will probably want to use the filters to manage sexual content and strong language.

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • following codes of conduct

Kids 13 and older can learn how to communicate with others who are interested in anime in Gaia Online. Interactions based on a shared interest in anime can help them build online friendships and express themselves. Earning Gaia Cash to purchase premium items can also help teens build a better understanding of money; they have to decide how to spend it economically as they embellish their avatar. Used wisely, Gaia Online can help young anime fans connect and feel a sense of community.

 

This Learning Rating review was written by Jinny Ree

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Log on to Gaia Online and play games, connect with other 13- to 18-year-old anime fans, collect downloadable wallpaper for cell phones, and buy items in virtual stores with Gaia Cash, which is earned with every session spent on the site. The first stop after your free sign-up is creating your avatar. When kids want to meet new people, they can hang out in virtual spaces such as the town and Virtual Hollywood, where they can chat and go clubbing. Kids also have the opportunity to earn extra Gaia Cash by participating in advertised offers such as completing surveys, signing up for free trials, watching videos, etc.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Though the site appears to be kid-friendly and moderators are supposed to be trolling the boards for inappropriate images, racist and sexist language, and adult content, if you don't use the word filter it's rampant with such fare. For example, on a recent visit, the following threads appeared: "Your best WTF moment was…?" "What are your fave pick-up lines?" "Masturbation Myths and Fads" and "Poll: I wanna have sex with a boy." Perhaps the moderators were asleep at the wheel or their safety claim is just that -- a claim. Either way, it'd be good to sit down with the kids as they surf the site or just steer them away. There are plenty of others with cleaner content and just as robust audiences.

Online interaction: While some users may find support and camaraderie in the forums, there is also a lot of negativity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about maintaining boundaries online. What steps can you take to maintain your safety in a chat room? What information should you keep private in personal profiles and chat rooms?

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of GaiaOnline 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.

Find out more

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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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byNinaMu November 21, 2013
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Beware of your wallet

Gaia's new business model aggressively pushes spending real money on the site. Every day users are bombarded via email, pop-up advertisements and announcements with sales. Some of their "Sales" feature virtual items with a price tag of hundreds of dollars. Even when the price tag is not so hefty, there are so many of these sales, it would be easy to get carried away and ending up spending more money than intended. Users cannot opt-out from the constant advertising. (Pop-ups and sale-related announcements cannot be disabled.) Gaia is monetizing every aspect of the site and is making it evident that users who pay have an advantage over non-paying users. Younger users and teenagers who are still learning to manage their finances, may be easy prey. There is even an exclusive club for "big spenders" in which the reward is to have private access to more sales. Although this could be a good opportunity to talk to kids about the value of money, I'd be wary of the site in general. If your kid is on this site, place clear limits on spending and monitor that they're not spending every dollar they have purchasing stuff on the site, because Gaia is intending that they do just that.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byAZK-DSS August 4, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

This has nothing to do with the website, it has to do with the parents.

You all say gaia online is this horrible website, where there is porn, cybering, nudity, sexually suggestive content. Have any of you taken the time to turn on your TV to the music station? To the movie stations? Have you seen a PG-13 movie as of late? If you had you'd see that many of the things that are allowed on this website are in those movies, granted yes, there are porn trolls, but trolls don't just exist on gaia, they exist on every forum based website online. Also you should stop blaming the website, stop petitioning it's removal when in fact you need to become more internet savvy, you need to become more aware of what your children are doing, it's not hard to go into your browser history after your child has been on and see what they are up to, and even better, it's not illegal. if you review what they are doing to be wrong you should discuss it with them, you can also buy programs that block the website, firewall it and make it inaccessable to your child unless they have a password. Children are learning about sex in their schools, in what they see on television and what there listening to on the radio, and the books they read. Chances are the things you blame gaia online for are your own short comings, and are things they have known about since they were a child. Hell even when I was a child I knew what sex was before I ever used the internet in my life. Gaia online is a great website, and there are moderators and staff that work as fast as they can to ban people who prey on children and those who post real nudity. All there moderating staff consists of adults and a good amount of those adults are actually parents themselves, I have in my time on the site met many parents who play gaia. Once again I'll repeat it for the mere sake of being redundant, it's not gaia onlines responsibility to safeguard any child OVER the age of thirteen, that's your responsibility. So become more aware, be in your childs business, but not over their shoulder. AZK
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byRowan_R October 21, 2010
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

I Think Not PARENTS BEWARE!

I am an ex-user on this site. I mean I suffered a lot of cyber bullying. They tote that it is a place for creativity, but the users well some, will tear your work down even though you are trying to have fun. There have been some pretty hurtful things said to me on this site. And I fear for a few children I know who use this site, because they too have suffered a taste of cyber bullying. And it is happening all under the parents' noses. PARENTS BEWARE! This site is a breeding ground for bullies. My recommendation would be NOT to allow your children the opportunity to even enter this site. I know I never will allow mine to do so.

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