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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 may be a hot place for preteen fun, but it's scant on activities and heavy on product pushes. Even though the company gets girls to use their creativity, it also doesn't want them to miss a single item it's selling. In addition to "craft" projects -- all of which require shelling out for additional Spotz items -- the site features products in a special section and in a tickertape on each page.
What's it about?
SPOTZGIRL.COM allows kids to create and use decorated Spotz discs in crafts. One imaginative feature is an online tool that allows girls to create their own Spotz using 10 colors and a freehand drawing tool. Users can whip up their own Spotz designs with an online drawing tool or print out pages of illustrations and photos featuring cats, zodiac signs, sports stuff and other kid-friendly subject matter.
Is it any good?
At first, Spotzgirl.com seems like a cool creative outlet, but after a few clicks, the site seems less about originality and more about pushing the various Spotz products. All uses listed for Spotz involve purchasing kits to create the featured messenger bags, doorbells, and more. But the rest of the site? It doesn't offer much except the chance to buy more Spotz stuff. Sections like the blog and a room designing game aren't functional yet; and the news section features a paltry single item -- undated -- declaring Spotz are "arriving today" at a store near you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Web sites pushing their young users to buy things. What are kids learning from sites that constantly offer stuff to purchase? Is it effective or does it turn you off? Families can also discuss the Spotz Girls -- four imaginary users profiled on the site -- who stress popularity and trendiness. Are those the most important things in life? Why or why not? What might be more important?