Littlest Pet Shop
What parents need to know
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.
Is it any good?
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?