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 social site is part of a multimedia project that aims to teach girls about nature and environmentalism. Still in beta, some features (like the screened message boards' eco tips) are truly educational, but many others (like the games) lack substance. The site sells Hulala Girls toys and stickers, and users have to buy "seashells" (credits) with real money in order to customize their avatars and profiles. They can also earn seashells by posting messages or playing games, but it takes weeks to earn enough seashells to buy anything. To register, kids choose a username and password; adults who register are asked for an email address as well. A portion of the site's profits go to environmental organizations.
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What's it about?
Eco-friendly girls can catch a green wave and sail on over to HULALAGIRLS.COM, a new site from Christy Hui, the creator of martial arts cartoon Xiaolin Showdown. The site stars Hana, Mele, and Skye, three Powerpuff-esque surfer girls who live on a tropical island and think nature is "pineapplicious." Users get an avatar and a profile that they can upgrade/"bling up" by buying or (very slowly) earning seashells.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, there's not much else to do on the site yet. The LotusOdeon section has a few animated clips of the girls, most of FriendsBay is "coming soon," and the games are mostly so-so, with the exception of the cute matching/memory game Dress Up. The best section is probably the GreenWall bulletin boards, which feature silly jokes, neat facts about nature, and tips for preserving the environment. The vibe is friendly, and all comments are reviewed before they're posted. The site has a cool theme and good intentions, but needs more fun features before surfer girls would deem it "rad."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about keeping personal information private online. What is OK to share with strangers? What is best kept offline? Families can also discuss environmental issues and the role of activism. Which changes in our lives are worth making? Can one person's behavior have an impact? How do we motivate others to change? What information from the site motivated you to do something different?