What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this site is open to anyone 13 and up, but the number of adult players, gambling games (you have to be 18 to gamble here), and real prize money makes it a less-than-ideal hangout for game-loving teens. Also, playing the free games requires wading through streams of ads for everything from credit cards to baby food. To nix the ads and get other perks, users must pay $5.99 a month for a membership. The unmonitored chat rooms are grouped by age (teen to 50+), but you have no way of knowing if people are really the age they say they are -- and some chat rooms are listed as "uncensored." At least members have the option of chatting in private rooms.
What's it about?
POGO.COM offers scores of games and contests; you can play for free or pay $5.99 month to become a Club Pogo member, which allows you to bypass the ads, participate in "special events," create an avatar, and have access private chat areas. Sponsored by game biggie EA (Electronic Arts), Pogo.com reportedly puts out more in-house developed games, features, and prizes than any other gaming site on the Internet. Many of the games are downloadable, and many can be played as multiple-player games.
Is it any good?
While many of the free games are engaging, fun, and educational, others are pure gambling -- with thousands of dollars in prize money to lure people (those over 18) into playing to win, win, win. All are filled to the brim with ads from seemingly every big-name company in America.
Overall, Pogo.com's games appear harmless -- and even enlightening -- yet for younger game enthusiasts, many of them mirror real-life gambling too closely. As a result, some teens may be playing with an addictive fire that they don't yet know when or how to put out.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why consistently playing games that have prize money may not be a healthy habit. How do Las Vegas-style games become addicting to some people? Which games require some skill and thought and which don't?