Shockwave Website Poster Image


Fun, free games -- but be prepared for some product plugs.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn basic skills like spelling, reading, problem solving, and patterns by playing games on the site that focus on those skills. Game categories include puzzles, strategy, time management, and words, so skill-based games are easy to find. The "Family & Kids" section has skills-based games for younger kids. Focused on fun, Shockwave has hidden educational gems.


Some games involve zombies, vampires, and other creepy characters; in others, players shoot cannons. But the violence typically isn’t very gory.


A streaking game features a character with a black bar over his groin area trying to avoid getting caught while running through sporting events.


The site says posts that aren’t “R-rated” will appear shortly after being submitted -- which sounds like they’re being reviewed. However, words like “damn” and creative spellings like “f***ck” can slip through. Users are able to report abuse.


Ads for cable TV/Internet services, cell phones, and other products are on each page, and many free games are preceded by ads. Some games are also based on book and movie characters.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although some games feature violence -- for example, driving over zombies in a hearse -- most Shockwave games are pretty tame. You need to register to comment on the games; however, you can play them for free. Kids need to be 13 or older to sign up for a free membership. And they only get one shot: Enter anything younger than 13 and then try to register again with an older age once, and you'll be denied.

Parents say

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What's it about?

SHOCKWAVE -- owned by Viacom, which also owns MTV and Nickelodeon -- features more than 1,800 word puzzles, car racing, and other games. Games are either played directly on the site or downloaded. Easy-to-understand instructions are available on each page; however, most young users should be able to figure out how to play without having to read anything. Registered users can share their thoughts about games in comment posts. Basic registration is free; paid memberships offer extra amenities, including ad-free games.

Is it any good?


SHOCKWAVE.COM was founded in 1998 and has been owned by MTV/Nickelodeon’s parent company Viacom since 2006. Users can play strategy, adventure, word puzzle, and other games for free on the site -- although there’s a 60-minute daily limit -- or pay to download individual games (prices start at 99 cents). You can also opt for a paid subscription, available for $9.95 a month or $59.40 a year, to ensure kids will bypass the site’s frequent ads. And Mac users, take note: Many of the downloadable games only work on PCs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how some of the site games start out with a commercial. But there's other advertising on the site, too. Did you notice companies promoting their products on the site in other ways?

  • Can you play games and use a site like this where there are a lot of ads without feeling like you have to buy anything?

  • Should you set time limits on using a site that offers dozens of games? How much time is too much time to spend online? How can you mix up time using the Web with time playing outside or doing other activities?

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition
Science: physics
Math: patterns, sequences
Skills:Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, time management
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
Topics:Numbers and letters
Pricing structure:Free

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old September 11, 2011

Kisharoo's Review on Shockwave.

Personally, as a young ten year old child, I DO play the game. However, my mother looked over the website and told me which games I could and could not play. The shooting and violence games are ones that I recomend that children under 13 should stay away from. Trust me. The games are fun, and a few have an educational value. The Moderators look over every review post! It's very safe, because you can only review a game - you can't send "Personal Messages". You can have friends, but that's harmless since you can't chat with them unless you are very clever. I do have an account, but I just lied about my age;; no biggie. My mother supervises me while I play the games, and if the picture of a game has bad clothing, or bad content, I don't play it. I recomend that you should KNOW your child. Are they more emotional? Are they scared of gore or blood? Moderate what they play, and set guidelines. Some of the games can be inapproperiate, but you can still let them play, and tell them that if they play a certain game, that they will be punished. That they will not be allowed to play the game anymore. I am mature and smart for my age. If your children AREN'T like that, then you should think twice before letting them play the games {{If they are also younger than 13}}. Pretty much, if they can look at PG-13 movies or television shows, and love it, then they can handle this. The internet always has iffy things for children of ANY age. Teach them what to do and what to NOT do, and tell them to ask you before signing up for anything. To me, it's really fun! There are new games every week! Just ignore the ads, since some of them may be iffy, and ignore the things telling you to pay. If you do pay, however, it's not a bad price! ~Kishy
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old September 11, 2011

Know your kid

Its a good site if your kids know which games not to play. Not for like 6- 8 year olds without a parent watching the whole time.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 9 years old April 5, 2011


You see it has everything you can think of. From diner games to violent games.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns