GaiaOnline

Website review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
GaiaOnline Website Poster Image
Iffy content + constant consumerism = caution.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 136 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 205 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

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.

 

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNinaMu November 21, 2013

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 announc... Continue reading
Adult Written byAZK-DSS August 4, 2009

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... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySomeoneSomewhere March 29, 2011
everyone's so stupid when they rate this! READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE BEFORE YOU PLAY idiots. You MUST be over 13 years old. and YOU choose where to go and... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydavi56 April 15, 2012

very iffy site for the more mature teen

while this site is a very funky and trendy site, there are many problems with it - the forums don't seem to be monitored that much - avatar's names ca... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love making friends online

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