Littlest Pet Shop

Common Sense Media says

Virtual world packed with product plugs.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the site doesn't delve too much into the basics of caring for a pet, it can be a starting point for parents to talk to kids about how having a pet can teach responsibility. Predetermined chat and post responses also encourage kids to communicate positively.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

To avoid bad language and/or negative comments, virtual pet photos posted to the site can only be rated using predetermined terms like "terrific" and "awesome." Chats are filtered.

Consumerism

Info on Littlest Pet Shop and other Hasbro products is everywhere; you can download product-related stuff like wallpaper and watch videos (some of which are commercials), and there's information on where to buy Pet Shop pets.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

A message reminds kids not to use their real name as their screen name when registering. Hasbro collects personally identifiable information from website users who volunteer it, and non-personally identifiable information from anyone who visits the site.

The site plans to add parental controls to let parents manage their kids' accounts in the future.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that all kids, regardless of age, are asked to enter parent's e-mail address to register on the Littlest Pet Shop website. Premium membership, which costs $5.95 for a month, gives you some special privileges, such as giving virtual gifts to other premium members, and provides Kibble Coins, the site currency, for kids to spend on virtual pet accessories.

Parents say

Kids say

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids don't need to own one of Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop pets to use the LITTLEST PET SHOP ONLINE site -- but chances are, after spending some time on it, they may want one. The site gets points for being easy to use. A cute character walks you through the registration process, and throughout the site, guides and other user avatars greet you by blinking and wiggling their ears.

Product plugs abound: The emphasis in both the general product information section of Hasbro's site and the pet-centric virtual world is definitely on Pet Shop products. (One section encourages girls to create a scrapbook and wish list to "keep track of the pets you own and the ones you want.") If you do buy one of the toys in a store, you'll get a code to unlock special rewards on the site. Yet there's still plenty of fun to be had without purchasing a pet. Kids can create their own animal avatar and play fun games like Connect 4. They can also cruise around and chat -- safely -- with other users, making the virtual Pet Shop world a fun place to visit.

Online interaction: Users can chat with each other on the site using predetermined phrases or by keying in words -- but a filter blocks any inappropriate ones.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how much time is too much time to spend in a virtual world. When is it better to play in the "real" world?

  • This site offers a paid membership that lets you do different things on the site, which can be a great way to get kids to talk about money. Ask your child, "What do you know about saving and spending?"

  • Like all pets, virtual pets require care -- which is a great way to learn how to be responsible. What do you need to do to care for a pet?

Website details

Genre:Brand Sites
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Littlest Pet Shop 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

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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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Kid, 7 years old July 31, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

The Cheerleaders

I Love MLP they are very clute and adorable.
What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byabcstone January 12, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Not at all what we had anticipated

We have been sorely disappointed by this product. The look is absolutely adorable, but with the plush pet you do not get one year, but one MONTH. You can get a free account, but your choices of pets are limited and once you are on the site there is little to nothing you can actually DO. I was collecting all sorts of goodies, but I couldn't eat the food, wear the clothes, or put the furniture in my house (if I could even BUY it). They quite obviously want you to buy the membership, but even with the preview we've gotten for the last few weeks, my kids don't want it. The games are okay...definitely more kid-geared than other sites, but not terribly challenging for older kids. My eldest daughter bought this for her younger sister and I think she feels rather ripped off.
Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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