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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 educational site for kids ages 4 to 7 teaches thinking and pre-reading skills through arcade-like games in simple virtual world habitats. Kids earn rewards that they can then use to create a skate park, comic book, and other things for their avatar. Currently in Beta version, two of three available habitats are free, with a third to unlock if you pay $4.95 for it.
Is it any good?
Younger kids who see their older siblings playing in virtual worlds will like the idea of creating their own avatar, playing age-appropriate games, and earning online stuff on KABONGO. For some players, however, the numerous motion-oriented graphics on this site -- moving gears, levers, characters hopping around, and more -- may be too much of a distraction. It those visual elements win a child's attention, many of the educational components, like the fun games Rocket Racer and Critter Sizer, may not be as effective.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's important to learn to read, to learn other school subjects, and to learn to use a computer safely and responsibly. Even young children can understand that learning to read and learning to use a computer are skills that will help them grow up, and that parents are there to help them grow up smart, strong, and safe.
Discuss appropriate computer time limits with your child. Now is the time to set healthy habits; read Common Sense Media's Setting Appropriate Computer Time Limits.
If your child wants you to "unlock" the additional habitat by paying the fee, discuss your family's views on purchasing games online. Do you want your child to play the free portions of the game only, or to try it out for a few days before committing to a purchase of more features? You may want to help your child understand the value of trial memberships or test periods before purchases.
For kids who love learning and virtual worlds
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.