What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Moshi Monsters virtual world site is more entertainment than educational. Kids take care of cute little creatures and earn points to "buy" stuff for their computer-based pet while being introduced to online social networking. There are numerous ways for kids to interact here, although most of the site's focus seems to be on playing games, caring for your own pet, and decorating your own virtual world. Even so, make sure your child knows how to block unwanted friend requests and report posts that are rude or inappropriate, just in case. There's a reassuring section for parents that explains the site's concept and safety measures. The site also has a huge push for purchased items, with membership promoted as a way to receive new features. Items range from the inexpensive to the pricey, so parents should be aware of the potential costs for the site.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- solving puzzles
- friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics
- fiscal responsibility
- learning from consequences
- making wise decisions
Engagement, Approach, Support
Cute monsters and colorful graphics catch kids' eyes and keep their attention. Includes some games that are well constructed, quick, and fun enough to disguise the fact that kids are actually learning.
Kids are empowered by responsibility to their monster. At all times, they must be aware of and respond to how their monster is feeling. They must keep track of their Rox supply, replenish it, and take time to shop for their little adoptee.
Has some limited social networking features. Players can leave comments in their friends' rooms. Kids can meet via forums, community section features, and just by wandering around the virtual world.
What's it about?
On the MOSHIMONSTERS site, kids customize and name their choice of monster, which can be active in three places: its home, its garden, and in Monstro City. Kids can access Rox-earning puzzles from home, or click a map of Monstro City to go places to play games and shop. (A few locations are open to paid members only). To add friends, players must know each other's usernames, and once added, they can trade messages on a \"pin board.\"
Is it any good?
This online social world belongs in the increasingly long line of sites where kids take care of little creatures and earn points to "buy" stuff for their computer-based pet while being introduced to virtual worlds and online social networking. This site's creators know that cute monsters and colorful graphics catch kids' eyes and keep their attention online. A UK-created site for grade-school readers, it includes some games that are well constructed, quick, and fun enough to disguise the fact that kids are actually learning. Monster owners' ages, home countries, and gender are visible, which may be objectionable to some parents, as is the focus on money for digital goods or memberships to guarantee larger amounts of access.
The site also comes with some limited social networking features. Players can leave comments on their friends' "pinboards" in their rooms. To make friends, kids are supposed to know their friends' screen names, but players can also find that out online via the forums, community section features, and just by wandering around the virtual world. MoshiMonsters is an interesting introduction to social networking and helps kids learn a thing or two, but it's limitations and financial focus ruins some of the experience.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about safely interacting with people online. How does interaction with other players on this site compare to similar sites?
What does it means to "know" someone, and are online "friends" really friends? It's never too early to start planting seeds about Internet safety, even with elementary school-age kids.