Littlest Pet Shop

 
Virtual world packed with product plugs.

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.

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

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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; OK 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 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written bycaramelpuppy December 12, 2013
age 8+
 

It closed down.

This site was great before it closed down.. Brings back so much memories.. There was so much to do, even if you're not a member. however membership is needed if you want to buy all the items, decorate a house, and stuff. It's gone, so don't bother... But i did see constant dating on the website, it's very easy to get past the filter. It had so many games, customization, and nostalgia none of those trash games like "club penguin" had. It had great and colourful graphics, adventures, and more. So sad it is gone. Not sure if this site will reopen anytime soon. <3 you lpso :(
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 12 years old May 18, 2013
age 18+
 

Not at all what you might expect

My friend reccomended this site when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. Turns out, it was completely full of dating. I, a female, had made a male charachter because I didn't like the huge eyelashes on the girl charachters, so girl charachters kept coming up to me and saying, "your hot." (It was really funny though if I said "I'm a girl" and they said "Oh... sorry". Learned your lesson about online dating, eh?) Once, someone kept coming up to me and saying things like, "you know you want me". I kept saying "No I don't," and "Go away" but they wouldn't. Sometimes, boys and girls even get together to "merry". Yup, marriage on a kids site. With kids sites today, I totally expected that. And do the mods do anything? Yup, you guessed it. Nope!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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