Mapoosa

Website review by
cmthomas, Common Sense Media
Mapoosa Website Poster Image
Sim world offers some learning games but lacks depth.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn some math content -- especially elementary-level fractions and base-ten numerals -- as well as some science-related content (animal facts and the like.). Many of the details are about India and Indian culture: plants and animals that live there, the currency (the rupee), and some lessons on traditional Indian families. Though there are tutorials with some games (especially math), most don’t provide the background knowledge kids will need to complete the tasks. For some kids, guessing may be a productive learning opportunity, but many kids would do better with guided feedback and options to access more information. Mapoosa highlights math, science, and Indian culture in an entertaining way, although it could definitely use richer learning mechanics for its subjects.

Positive Messages

Some messages about family values (caring for grandparents) that are respectful though traditional (no "modern” families portrayed). There’s also some sarcasm, unkind behavior (avatars can kick, throw water balloons).

Consumerism

Users can access free content but can pay either a monthly or yearly fee to access additional content; some content only available to paying customers.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mapoosa is an online world packed with games, both "just for fun" and educational. The site is designed in India for an Indian audience, so kids will encounter accented voice-overs, some uncommon words, and Indian-focused content (tigers, poachers, rupees). All users create accounts, and parent approval is not necessary. Further, kids can chat with, friend, and message other users -- all without that information being available to parents. For details on the kinds of information collected and shared, read the site's privacy policy.

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What's it about?

MAPOOSA is a simulated world of quirky destinations and customizable avatars. As kids explore, they run into many (more than 130) short games to play, which range from simply fun to educational (especially math). Some locations and games are blocked to (free) visitors and accessible only to (paid) citizens. Kids earn "poosos" for completing tasks and games and can earn badges upon finishing certain game sets. Poosos are used to upgrade an avatar's clothes or home items. All users create an account. Kids do enter a parent's email address, though parents don't provide approval. Kids can chat with other avatars and can connect through friending and messages.

Is it any good?

Kids won't mind poking around this silly world and will find lots to keep them entertained, but for the screen-time minutes they absorb, the games and learning could really be more robust. Some don't even support the learning they claim to. There's a curriculum guide listing games by subject, but it's almost impossible to locate specific games within Mapoosa. The math games tend to include tutorials and practice problems around elementary concepts (fractions, base-ten numerals). But these are fast-paced and use fairly uncommon math language ("3 by 4" instead of "three-fourths"). Paying for membership will provide you with a parent account to view kids' usage and game statistics. Scores you see, though, will compare your kid to other players, not to a standard of mastery. And you won’t have access to social interactions (kids' chats, messages, or friend data). Add to this the problem that some kids might have understanding some of the accents or uncommon words and slang that makes more sense to an Indian audience, and you have a site that means well but just doesn't go far enough to deliver an immersive experience to all kids around the world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to interact respectfully and safely in a simulated world. What information is OK to type? What do you do with an unknown friend request?

  • Discuss similarities and differences between India and your home. Does this country seem so foreign after you've spent time on this site? Why?

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