A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that to register for Garden Party, kids do not have
the option of using their real name -- they choose a username from a
list -- and according to the site terms, the site is continuously
monitored by moderators. Kids are asked to submit a parent's email
address when registering and parents are notified. Free and paid
memberships are offered.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
Kids plant and water seeds and recycle unwanted plants in a compost bin
in the virtual GARDEN PARTY world, which can help teach them about
responsibility and being green. Garden Party also has an admirably safe,
filtered chat function -- plus different areas of the world load
quickly, so it's easy to travel from place to place.
downside? Walking around is a breeze, but participating in site
activities isn't always quite as simple. An owl character offers some
help in each section -- but kids may still be confused. For example, to
fish in the Lazy Lagoon you'll need a duck costume -- which isn't
particularly easy to find or purchase.
Spend some time on the
site and it's clear that to really join the party, you may need to rack
up a bunch of orbs -- the site currency, which can be earned playing
games and completing other activities -- or buy a VIG membership, which
costs $5.95 for one month or $49.95 for a year.
Online interaction: During registration, users can opt to either chat using the site's
filter function or not have access to chatting at all. Users can also
message each other via an IM function or by sending mail through the
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what things they currently do to be green -- and
what additional things they might be able to do to help the
environment. What other things can you recycle, plant, or do to be greener?
The site encourages you to plant and care for seeds. How can caring for a
pet or plant make you more responsible? What kind of things do you need
to do to take care of a living thing?
What makes virtual worlds seem so fun? Is chatting one of your favorite
things to do on the site? What things have you noticed about this site's
chatting function that makes connecting with other kids a little safer?