A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miss Bimbo is a website that blends the adopt-a-pet concept with a virtual world to allow users to care for female characters called "bimbos." As the term "bimbo" implies, the site's attitude is not pro-girl power, in fact it reinforces negative stereotypes and concepts about women, including that their happiness is determined by their appearance and that the purpose of a boyfriend is to provide financial support (though there's a tongue-in-cheek humor that softens these messages). The site also brings up some privacy and safety concerns, since it's easy to contact -- and correspond with (under some monitoring by site moderators) -- other users.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
The U.K.-based MISSBIMBO.COM offers users the chance to create a virtual pet-like avatar -- a female "bimbo" -- and features more than 30 levels, which players can advance through by doing things like changing their bimbo's hairstyle, buying her clothes, and renting her a virtual apartment. The site could teach girls a few positive lessons in a fun way. For example: Playing games helps girls earn online currency to buy things, but also helps boost their bimbo's IQ. Users also need to care for their character by feeding them, potentially encouraging responsibility. However, the site features a cringeworthy focus on weight -- players are told letting their bimbo lose or gain too many pounds could affect her happiness, which isn't a very body-positive message to send teens.
Miss Bimbo also places an eerie emphasis on boyfriends; players are told that men provide a much-needed source of money "just because he loves you." Add in the fact that girls can find out about a number of adults-only topics on the site's message boards, and it might be a good idea to steer teens clear of babysitting their own bimbo.
Online interaction: Users can challenge other users. But the challenges are pretty tame; a crowd applauds your bimbo and another bimbo, and one is chosen as the winner.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the stereotypes this website reinforces about women. Do you think it's all in fun, or is there something truly negative about its approach?
The site brings up the idea that a women's weight it linked to her happiness. What do you think about that? What makes a particular weight a healthy weight for someone -- and how can you maintain your weight safely?
How do you know how old (or young) the people you meet online are? Should you ask their age before you respond to them or contact them? What are safe ways to interact with others online?