OurWorld Website Poster Image

OurWorld

(i)

 

Virtual world with games and some smart parental controls.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to build friendships within a virtual world as cool and trendy as the gang on their favorite tween drama or sitcom. Players create avatars that look great, dress well, and have fabulous condos. They can then choose between matching, strategy, and puzzle games and also complete activities -- like shopping -- to earn more swag. Most games are focused on fun, but some will reinforce skills like strategic thinking and puzzle solving. OurWorld is a fun, safe space for tweens and teens to develop online social skills.

Positive messages

There's a heavy focus on buying stuff -- even just-for-fun virtual clothing and furniture -- on the site.

Violence

Some of the games, such as Warlords: Heroes and Zombeast Stampede, involve stabbing or shooting opponents to kill them.

Sex

Aside from a few message board posts about how to report/remove posts that mention sex and nudity, the boards seem pretty free of sexual content.

Language

The chat feature supposedly has two filters -- one for players 13 and older and a stricter one for players younger than 13 -- that will replace words it can't accept/doesn't recognize with another word. However, the general message board contains words like "s--t" and "f--k," and it's possible to enter words like "damn," even if you're registered as being younger than 13. (Words like "f--k," however, are changed into a nonsensical string of letters in chats.)

Consumerism

Some games are preceded by brief commercials for gum, AT&T, and other products (labeled as a "short message from our sponsor.") Users are also encouraged to gather two types of site currency: gems, which are frequently purchased via credit card, and coins, which can be earned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that OurWorld is a virtual world where kids can play chat and play games; a few of the games have violent content. For kids to chat, they need to first send a parent verification email through the site. If they're under 13, parents are told kids' communications will be filtered to ensure they're only using approved words and phrases. However, parents can change their child's settings to let them chat openly with other users; so if kids enter their email address for the verification, they can easily unlock any restrictions.

What's it about?

Teens have yet another place to wander and interact, play games, and shop for items to beautify their avatars with OURWORLD.COM -- a virtual world with better-than-average graphics. Avatars can zip between a coffeehouse, dance club, and theater (among other locations), and wave, dance, and chat with each other via thought bubbles. For the more action-oriented, the site offers dozens of games which range from those based on logic (Jewel Quest involves lining up symbols) to old-fashioned, arcade-like ones (Condor Cowboys knocks bandits off giant birds). Kids can pick their difficulty level; playing any of the games earns you \"flow,\" which is OurWorld.com's \"energy.\" Flow can be used to buy hairstyles and clothes -- and can be used to spin a prize wheel that can generate \"coins,\" the site's currency, which is also used to buy things. Paid memberships ($6 a month or $50 a year) get you access to even more stuff.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Parents have some control over what their kids can do on the OURWORLD site: They can decide whether kids can talk with strangers, friends, or not chat at all when they sign up, and can restrict kids from making any changes to their account settings. A language filter also helps prevent swears from being used in chats. However, the site is definitely geared toward kids who are tweens or older; it can be a little tricky to navigate around, and although many of the 40 or so puzzle, matching, and other games are tame, some action games involve shooting and killing that could be too violent for younger users.

OurWorld should provide some generally safeguarded fun as you make your avatar dance and travel around the virtual world. However, it's unclear if kids will log on for long without wanting to buy one of the paid subscriptions ($5.99-$10 per month or $49.99 a year) to help them rise through the site levels faster and access exclusive areas. There's also a push to purchase gems, one of the two forms of site currency, to get special virtual accessories -- but many kids will still find fun things to do on the site for free.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it can be risky to chat openly online with strangers. Why is it safer to have pre-scripted responses, or to have some words blocked?

  • Families can also talk about what type of information is safe to share with others online. Why should you never give out any information that's considered personal, like the town that you live in?

  • How should you handle an unwelcome invite to chat or an inappropriate comment from another user?

Website details

Skills:Communication: friendship building, multiple forms of expression
Responsibility & Ethics: respect for others
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bymantt July 26, 2009

Be Careful!

When I started hearing this website being spoken about a lot among the kids I'm surrounded with, like my younger cousins and little sister, I asked them what it was all about. Of course, being kids they failed to provide me with the important details. So i went on myself and created an account and everything. Trying to figure how everything worked out, I was approached by another player and was asked to go over to his condo, after telling me I was cute. Out of curiosity, i went. Upon arrival at his condo, he suggested taking off our clothes and having "secks." I think this website is very much like a chat room and shouldn't be allowed for younger children. They make communication as easy as text messages. So if your child isn't mature yet...think again about letting them on this site.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byBaleyx September 10, 2011

It's the users not the game.

I've been playing this game for a long time, before gems came into play. I would say any website with chat, avatars or anything of that nature are never safe for kids. Because anyone can play them and some people enjoy ruining things for others. When "hearts" were created I had a side account just so people would stop asking out of the blue. It was suppose to be something serious and the immaturity of the players was ridiculous. Girls claiming they were cheated on and would openly chat about suicide, That's when you know they take the game too far. The second issue I found was the levels, once kids reached a certain level they became arrogant and rude, I always found the term noob rude and senseless, everyone was new at some point. Higher levels always bashing new players for being "ugly" because they have starter outfits or clothes that didn't cost gems, or simply making fun of them for asking a question about the game. Then gifting, with it's constant begging, and some kids trying to scam new players, into buying them gems or something of the sort. I could log on and will find someone I don't know commenting me to give them a gift. It gets to a point where you don't even want to leave your profile open to all players, for anyone could message and comment spamming about gifts, or my next issue. Kids who try to talk or display sexual actions.Being naked means getting down to undergarments. But people will use their imagination and do dance moves to interpret sex. OW did block a lot of terms from being used but you can say anything if you know how to get around it. Lastly, anyone can play it. But if your kid wants to make an account you better hope they're mature and know the difference between real life and the internet. It is not the games fault that a variety of ages play this, and it's certainly not their fault when users want to misbehave and act rude or crude. So there really isn't a way to shelter your kids from anything, this happens everywhere.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byEvonyflyer November 8, 2010
I love this website it is wonderful and great! You can make lots of friends and make profiles, which is fun. This website doesn't allow you to share too much personal information either.