Spark City World

 

Learning(i)

Virtual world where girls can play games, gab, and shop.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Girls are encouraged to express their feelings, be creative, and explore their individual identity.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Ads precede many of the games, unless you purchase a VIP membership -- which is heavily promoted on the site. A link also leads users to an external site that sells Spark City World T-shirts.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Users can broadcast their comments to other users or talk privately by whisper chatting with other users. Chats feature language filters, and using your real name is discouraged, but it's easy to friend strangers on the site.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the ultra-girly virtual world is free to join, but kids are frequently encouraged to sign up for a VIP membership, which offers access to additional areas; special quests; and extra star coins, used to buy avatar clothing, furniture, and pets. VIP memberships cost $5.95 per month or $49.95 a year. If users are under 13, parents need to approve their child's registration via e-mail.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • vocabulary

Math

  • addition
  • counting

Skills

Emotional Development

  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Designed for tween girls, this virtual world features games and activities like shopping for avatar fashions and chatting with other users. Many of the games just focus on mindless fun.

Learning Approach

Spark City gives kids a chance to communicate and be creative, but most concepts lack real-world application. Most games don't identify the educational takeaway -- if there is one.

Support

Some games include detailed instructions; others don't. A few offer a tip when you get stuck but don't explain how to get a higher score on the next try. Kids can view a list of tasks but may not be able to find the individual challenges.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • vocabulary

Math

  • addition
  • counting

Skills

Emotional Development

  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Kids can learn to express themselves by chatting with users and customizing their avatar. Tallying their game score can help kids practice addition, and some activities stress vocabulary skills. But unfortunately, most games don't identify the educational takeaway -- if there is one. Kids may also have a hard time building on the concepts they're practicing; a few games offer a tip when you get stuck but don't explain how to get a higher score on the next try. Spark City gives kids a chance to communicate and be creative, but most other concepts lack real-world application.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

What's it about?

SPARK CITY WORLD was designed for tween girls: They play games, get virtual currency, then spend it on avatar gear. A few games offer educational content, but many just involve dragging items to certain spots to advance to the next level. The site also encourages girls to share their thoughts by chatting with several users or one-on-one via a whisper chat option. Sharing personal info is prohibited, and a filter blocks email addresses and phone numbers -- but girls can friend users they don't know, which could be a concern.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The virtual SPARK CITY WORLD -- formerly known as AllGirlArcade -- features activities geared toward girls age 6-14, including games, shopping for avatar fashions and other items, and chatting with other users. Some aspects, such as a crafting section, encourage girls to express themselves and be creative; however, many of the games just focus on mindless fun. A well-labeled map makes it easy to get around, but some parts of the site can be a little confusing. Certain games, for example, include detailed instructions; others don't have any. Kids can also view a list of the daily tasks they're encouraged to complete -- but may not be able to find the individual challenges.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the site's emphasis on purchasing clothing and other items. When you buy new clothes on the site, does it make you want new things in real life?

  •  

  • Ask your child which character is her favorite -- and why. Does she like another user or site character because of the way she looks or due to her personality? Families can discuss how some characters may be more likable than others, depending on how much your child has in common with them.

  •  

  • Users can chat privately with each other on the site or make comments that everyone can see. Is it OK to chat with someone you don't know in real life? What comments should you avoid responding to when chatting online -- like requests for your real name or address?

  •  

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Spark City World was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old December 24, 2010
age 7+
 

AGA

here your journey to allgirlarcade. Everything is fun.but the next day u feel like u stepped into a rated R place. Plus all this membership thing is annoying. And my friends think that they copied Barbiegirls with VIP.And right now my avatar have to wear these not-good-looking-clothes which sucks :p.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old June 4, 2009
age 7+
 

AllGirlArcade

THIS IS AN AWESOME SITE!!! But watch out for people calling you Be ouches. And people made fun of my avatar's clothes
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byjwsw August 5, 2010
age 13+
 

Absolutely Inappropriate!

After I allowed my 8 year old to sign up to chat on Spark City (I read the parent info and was assured that this was a safe chatting environment), I decided to check out the chatting. I was horrified to learn that their are boys trolling the site (as well as girls looking for trouble). These older kids have found ways around forbidden words and were posting inappropriate and suggestive things! I am absolutely horrified by this activity. Either allgirlarcade/spark city should have chat moderators in every room, or they should shut down the chat capabilities. Pathetic!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns

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