A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this virtual doll dress-up site is an unregulated place full of comments and images inappropriate for kids. It allows registered users to interact directly and post their email address -- and there's no age requirement to register. Once you decide to actually play dress-up, you're taken off the site to Zwinktopia.com to create your doll. The site also lists HTML coding so users can add games and dolls to a MySpace page. Google sponsored ads and banner ads are on every page. The plus side: Older teens can exercise some creativity picking out outfits for their dolls.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
DRESSUPGIRL.NET offers teens a tempting number of dress-up games, such as "Dress-Up for a Vacation" and "Impress Sexy," featuring underwear-clad girls with clothing, accessory, and make-up options. Once registered, users can send private messages and add other visitors to their IM lists. Able to communicate off and on the site, dressupgirl.net's users appear to have free reign to say anything -- and they do. Some post naked breast photos as their ID. Site game comments (listed as reviews) include "she was damn right sexxxy" and "for fuk sake!"
Is it any good?
The real question is who's providing the games? Who can tell? The site lists no owner, and the only site info given is the number of registered users and total games. That's a concern since free registration is required after using up the site's new user "credits." The only redeeming quality about this site is that kids can get a little creative choosing outfits. The site's games are kid-friendly; its structure is not. Given dressupgirl.net's lax safety policy, parents may want to consider shutting the computer down and pulling out some old-fashioned paper dolls -- or even Barbie -- instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the site's lack of safety precautions. What are the risks of posting your email and IM address publicly? Why is it important to confirm a site has a legit owner, even if you found it using a search engine or on a friend's site? Our Top Ten Tips for Kids for Viral Media can help with some Internet safety questions. Parents may also want to discuss the site's emphasis on improving self-esteem with fashion. Are clothes and shoes really the key to happiness and popularity?