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 sparse space-themed virtual world offers some entertaining games and fun avatars, but lacks originality --and safeguards. Its creators claim it is designed for kids aged 4-14, but its unfiltered chat feature makes it a questionable site for any age. Older tweens likely will discover some fun games but little else to hold their interest for long. Younger kids will require a lot of parental supervision to navigate and play the games.
Is it any good?
Designed to be an out-of-this-world virtual world, SpaceFace falls a little flat. The space-themed site has the requisite features such as games, chat, ecards, messaging tools, and a social networking function. Users collect SpaceGold, which -- with a paid membership -- can be exchanged for real SpaceFace-branded merchandise, and their avatars are unique caricatures of faces that float around in space throughout the site. The games are fun and some are even mildly educational, but there’s not much substance here that can’t be found in safer, more engaging places. In fact, the space face avatars themselves are ultimately more interesting than the limited places they visit. You could call it a universe not worthy of inhabiting. At least not for long.
Online interaction: Users can make and collect SpaceFriends and chat with them privately or publicly. Presently, there isn’t much interaction occurring, so it’s difficult to gauge the quality of the chat, but there is ample opportunity to post practically anything in the chat spaces, including personal information and profanity.
Talk to your kids about ...
What -- if anything -- makes a virtual world one where kids want to spend time? Why is it important to limit the time you spend on the computer?
What is a good age to let kids visit online virtual worlds? Do you think there is an age that would not be appropriate? Why would website developers want to get very young children on their website?
How it’s important to know how to stay safe and private when online. What information should you never provide in virtual worlds and why not?