A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that it's hard to argue with Disney's creativity and the magical fun that it consistently produces for kids. But it's also hard not to pick a bone with the amount of Disney branding and tie-ins to other Disney sites and products on this site, which is otherwise a simple, fun place for kids who like to dress up fairies, chat with other kids (within a safe, preselected chat dictionary), earn badges, and fly around looking for fun features. Be sure to read the site's informative section for parents and the three introductory emails sent to the parent's email address (required for kids under 13).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Fairy-loving kids will find virtual-community features, two chat options, and the promise of more ways to play in the magical fairyland on Disney Fairies' PIXIEHOLLOW.COM. Young users can dress up their own fairies, name them by choosing from a list of preselected handles like "Shimmer Glamourstar" (a safer option than using a real name), and fly around looking for games to play or other fairies to chat with. The "speed chat" and "speed chat plus" options offer players some latitude in what they can write, but they also limit words to those in the approved Disney dictionary.
Is it any good?
Overall, this is a fun site, but not without frustration for young players. There's a lot of text and blog-type entries, most of which aren't at the appropriate reading level for the youngest members of the 6-and-up age group this site is courting. Loading times are long, and games are currently few. The site's terms state that your child's Disney.com account also provides access to content at sites like ABC.com and ESPN.com, so it may be wise to explain to younger kids that they need to stay in fairyland and not wander into the land of Desperate Housewives.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of "making friends" online. Especially for the youngest users, consider making a rule that no online friends are to be made, or set the tone early and clearly that online friendships are different than real-life ones. What does it mean to make friends with an online fairy that belongs to a person you don't know? What does it mean if someone turns you down when you ask them to be your friend online? Parents, does your child agree or disagree that it's a good idea to earn points by getting the most friends or to rank fairies with a number of stars that everyone on the site can see? Point out the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that Disney uses this site to encourage kids to ask for and buy Disney products and media.
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