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 eco-focused virtual world for kids has educational games and pre-approved chat words and phrases. There isn't any advertising on the site, but a shopping link takes kids to an area where they can earn "Kids Kash" points to upgrade their site membership. It's possible to play all the games without spending any money, but paid members have access to more features. The site promotes Internet safety for kids and has a parents section with message boards.
What's it about?
On KIDSCOM.COM, kids explore the virtual world of Sarillion to learn about saving the planet. They can go on missions to help the Idea Seekers characters defend the universe from the Darkness and his evil henchmen, the Clouds of Chaos, each of whom represents a vice like greed, laziness, or jealousy. Kids can also take care of a virtual "Plant Baby" and play a bunch of games, not all of which are focused on the environment. In one, for example, Idea Seekers Kimma and Tra have to prevent one of the Clouds from causing trouble at the mall.
Is it any good?
The site has a fair amount to keep kids occupied without having to spend money, and although there's a link to a shopping area, it's not the site's main focus. Many of the games are educational and promote good values. Even the mall game is one in which the main goal isn't shopping but stopping a thief.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ways they can help save the planet. What ideas from this virtual world could be practiced here on Earth? Why is it important for kids to get involved in things like recycling, using less energy, and saving water? Like many sites, this one has social networking features. How can these be used in ways that don't cause hurt feelings? If someone on a site wants to chat with you, but you don't want to chat back, what do you do?