A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition
Math: patterns, sequences
- Skills: Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, time management
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
- Genre: Gaming
- Topics: Numbers and Letters
- Pricing structure: Free
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