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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this site is part music-making tool and part promotion for iPod accessories. The site is tied to the Psyclops line of character iPod covers (compatible only with the Nano). Users who purchase a cover can unlock an interactive online world that allows for music and dance production and also social networking with friends. You don't have to buy the cover to put together tunes on the Web site.
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What's it about?
Listen carefully, parents, this gets complicated. At the Psyclops Web site, users can create their own Psyclops character (a cartoon, one-eyed monster), accessorize it with hair and clothes, and then create dance tracks on the "Music Machine." Psyclops connects your productions with the latest in social networking, so you can post or email your songs to friends. Users with a premium membership (i.e. they bought an iPod cover) can create a profile and join an interactive community.
Is it any good?
As far as online interactive "pets" go, Psyclops is not as multidimensional as some. Although the super-easy "Music Maker" feature is a highlight of the site, the "Dance Creator" isn't all that. What you will get from this site, if you buy the iPod cover that is, is an interactive Web site that links your electronic music player to the Web and a social site with lots of tween eye candy and music -- plus a protective iPod cover that can apparently keep that pricey piece of electronics safe from clumsy hands. Is it safe? Yes. Is it worth the money? That's up to you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about integrated media. Can you name an example of an item crossing over to different media? Do you think there will be other "virtual community" tie-ins with movies and video games in the near future? If you own an iPod, do you think this technology is something you'd be interesting in using?