HappyMeal.com

Common Sense Media says

Activity-intensive site a not-so-subtle McDonald's push.

Age(i)

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

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the site was (clearly) designed to promote fast food, it also includes McDonald's menu nutritional information and information about the importance of staying active.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Kids can't type their own statements into the site areas where users can submit content. They must select from predetermined phrases to add copy to their Ronald photo and other site sections.

Consumerism

The site promotes the Golden Arches and, specifically, the Happy Meal. A "Toys" section includes wallpaper and coloring downloads featuring the current Happy Meal toy characters (and a glimpse at who will appear in upcoming Happy Meals).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can't enter original content or chat yet on the site, and they log in using a username, so they are not providing personally unidentifiable information. There's also an online safety quiz to help educate kids about safe online interactions.

A placeholder says that a page offering an overview of your child's profile and site activities will be added in the future.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that HappyMeal.com is an activity and game site from McDonald's. The site heavily promotes the fast food chain, and features Ronald McDonald and Happy Meal toys (and movies, TV shows, etc., related to the toys).  Kids don't need to register or log in to play most of the games and activities. However, to submit high game scores or customize your experience (by saving your favorite activities and creating a personal homepage of sorts), registration is required.

Parents say

Kids say

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Some parents may cringe at the thought of encouraging their kids to spend time on a fast food chain's website. And it's true: The videos on HAPPYMEAL.COM are McDonald's commercials, and many of the site's most inventive features -- such as the function that lets kids mock up a photo with Ronald McDonald or create a customized video in which Ronald holds up a banner bearing their friend's name -- are definitely marketing-centric. On the upside, the site does place an emphasis on safety. Kids can submit shout-outs that run in a site ticker tape or customize their Ronald photo with words but can't key in their own phrases -- pre-selected ones like "Fun times!" are all that are available. You also don't need to register or sign in to use most of the site, and kids can access general info on eating a balanced diet.

If you allow your kids to visit HappyMeal.com, consider limiting the amount of time your kids spend on the site, and explain that it's promotionally based.

Online interaction: Users have the option of sending a link to the various site activities to a friend by clicking on a button. According to a placeholder on the site, a safe chat function is also coming soon.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how advertisers try to sell to kids. Does playing with the games and activities on this site make you want to eat at McDonald's more -- or make you want the toys featured in its Happy Meals more? Do you feel like the site is advertising things for you to buy?

  • McDonald's is known for its burgers, fries, and other foods -- yet its site also has information about vegetables, fruits, and eating a balanced diet. Is it possible to enjoy foods like cheeseburgers and still eat healthily?

  • The site features several ways for you to send links to the activities, videos, and other items to friends. If someone sends you a link to a website, how do you know that it's a safe site to visit? Should you ever click on links that come from people you don't know?

Website details

Genre:Brand Sites
Pricing structure:Free

This review of HappyMeal.com 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.

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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, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byWriterGirl1233 May 21, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

BORING!

Its boring its mostly nothing except what toys Mcdonalds has at the time but younger kids will like it.
Parent of an infant, infant, and 11 year old Written bynuku May 5, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
dis is gud website 4 skinny ppl
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old November 13, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

HappyMeal and McWorld

The only problem with HappyMeal and McWorld? The advert for the Happy Meal range is so commom but a still good website. And if you sign up for one of the sites you'd sign up for the other one¬
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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