What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although teens use Meez.com, most of the avatars' look- and identity-based accessories (such as the "shotgun wedding dress") have mature themes. Because photos posted in user profiles appear immediately, rather than going through any filtering, registered users could stumble across suggestive photos. Users can build a profile page listing their age, full name, personal URLs, and links to their instant messaging account. In addition, some of the avatar backgrounds are sponsored by big corporations that flaunt their brands. On the positive side, the site does offer a self-expression plus: Teens can be really creative when designing their online world.
Is it any good?
Registered users can choose from dozens of hairstyles and outfits to create intricate, downloadable MEEZ.COM avatars that move and groove their way through the site's dance club, poolside party spots, and other virtual rooms. Users also can also choose from a wide variety of backgrounds for their avatar. Most things are free, but some cost "coinz," bought via PayPal or a credit card for 10 cents each.
However, some of the site's background options include gambling and party themes that are too grown-up for young teens, and fashions tend to be tighter than what you'd want your "real" daughter to leave the house wearing. The site does get points for diverse facial/fashion selections, but panders to uncomfortable stereotypes with makeup like the "thug" girl look. The personal pages are also a point of concern -- users have the ability to post pretty suggestive photos and direct, inappropriate language. Meez can be a cool, creative outlet -- but only if its users are old enough to live the lifestyle they're designing.
Online interaction: To access the various virtual rooms on the site, users need to create an avatar. The Meez community includes a lot of user interaction -- you can enter friends' email addresses to invite them to join the site, post on more than a dozen bulletin boards, and chat live in the site's various rooms. Users can also add links on their profile to photos and videos. A language filter removes swear words in site message board posts; however, when it comes to profile posts, anything goes.
Families can talk about...