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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Unike some other more pointless virtual worlds, solving missions on Panfu provides some purpose to wandering through this virtual world. Still, there's a lot of mindless chat, mostly too-simple games, and lots of just wandering around here. Players earn coins to buy clothes and furniture for their avatar. Positive messages around Internet safety are frequent.
Violence & Scariness
There's a lot of talk about evil characters wiping out Panfu land unless players "save" the land. "All of Panfu is in danger!" Potentially too threatening for some younger players.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some romantic talk between players "I need a girlfriend" or "Will you be my gf?"
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There are pre-scripted messages and also open but filtered abilities to chat. If a player uses words or phrases that slip through the filter, other players can click on a "red face" to ignore the offending panda and it will no long appear on your screen. There are also reporting methods for more serious rule violations.
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Products & Purchases
Constant reminders to buy the "Gold Version" and become a "Gold Panda." Many parts of the game are restricted if you don't buy the gold membership, and players are reminded every time they enter another area that they cannot play without the gold membership. Also, without the gold membership, ads for everything from Tyson chicken to computers and travel are bannered up and down the sides of the screen. With the membership, the site is ad-free.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that PANFU, not to be confused with the very similar looking Pandanda, is yet another virtual world for kids that is mostly eye-candy. It does include some fun elements, most of which require paying for the Gold Panda membership ($9.90/mo or $7.90/mo for three months) to access. Site creators list intended ages as four to 14 and six to 14, depending upon where you look on the site. Either way, if your child can't read, this site will be frustrating and older kids might find the site a bit lackluster. Chatting is mostly safe with pre-scripted and filtered chat, though exchanges tend to be superficial.
Is It Any Good?
The cute pandas on their missions in this generally safe virtual world might capture the attention of kids who are good readers and enjoy online virtual world play. A nice touch is the welcome crew and the various characters (not actual players) who visit you throughout your time on the site to explain how to play in this world. Pandas can chat, dress up, and play several minigames, like a balloon-popping game with some physics concepts. Panfu is heavily promoted with TV ads on children's networks, but it may not live up to the expectations of some younger viewers who beg their parents to visit the site, especially those who cannot read well. Buying a Gold Panda membership is heavily promoted here on almost every area of this game. Ads for many products appear on the free version.
Online interaction: Most of the online interaction observed here is typical of other kids' virtual world sites. "What are you doing?" "Do you want to stay here?" "Are you mad at me?" "I want a boyfriend." Younger kids may have a hard time understanding when a chat is rejected.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.