Tiny Planets

Common Sense Media says

Safe, planet-themed virtual world with free and paid play.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site strives to make learning about planets and other topics fun.

Violence & scariness

Some games features lasers and small explosions, generally from blowing up meteors, asteroids, etc.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Parents can purchase the site's currency -- keys -- by signing up for a parent account. Keys are required to purchase premium content, such as interactive books and accessories for a player's avatar.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

You can use the site without providing any personal information.

Parents can sign up for an account to purchase keys, the site currency, for kids to use to buy extra items on the site.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the space-themed TinyPlanets.com virtual world automatically suggests usernames when upon registration and only offers preselected chat phrases, so there's no chance of kids entering inappropriate words or providing personal information. Kids don't have to submit an email address or any other personal information to register for the site. Kids earn "star" points by playing games and participating in other activities on the site, and then spend the points to purchase spaceships and a wide variety of buildings, landscapes, atmospheres and other features to customize their planets. But there’s a fair amount of content that’s only accessible to users who purchase “keys” with real money. A 10-pack of keys, which buys one video clip viewing, costs $1.95.

Parents say

Kids say

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

TINYPLANETS.COM, which is based on the animated Tiny Planets TV series, is a virtual world designed to let kids age 6-14 play games, watch videos, learn and explore. After creating a cadet avatar, users can click their way around the site's different worlds and activities. The graphics are impressive; cars whiz by as you float through a shopping center, and you can navigate your rocket ship through space. The site also deserves kudos for its clear emphasis on safety: You don't need to submit a lot of personal information to register, and kids can't openly chat with each other.

However, users aren't likely to be too over the moon about this site because a fair amount of the content costs money to access. The games that are free are fun; and some items can be purchased using stars, which are earned by exploring the site. However, many activities -- including most of the clips on the TV planet and the site's interactive books -- cost keys to check out. And unless parents want to whip out their credit card, kids may get frustrated trying to track down the site's free activities.

Online interaction: The ultra-safe chat feature allows users to pick from pre-selected statements only.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about paying for virtual goods. Is a website more fun if you have to pay to do some of the activities? Or is it more fun if there are more things to see and do that are free? Why do websites charge to access certain areas and not others?

  • What are the best ways to have fun in a virtual world, while still staying safe? This website doesn't let kids choose their own username -- why do you think that is? For sites that do let you choose a name, why isn't it a good idea to pick one that's close to your real name? What kind of words aren't safe to use?

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Tiny Planets was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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, 9 years old January 9, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Confusing

I don't really like it.
Kid, 12 years old May 14, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Well, I'm not a space junky.

When I first signed up, this site was kinda confusing. And now it's time for Pros and Cons. Pros: Good for space junkies, lots of places to visit, cool looking space ships, and a good variety of Space Suits. Cons: You can get lost easily, a little too fast-paced Mini-Games, and I suggest you install Shockwave and Flash before playing, otherwise your computer will crash. Overall, 3/5. (Because I'm not a space junky.)
Parent of a 12 year old Written bybingo123 May 1, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Really pretty and a lot of fun

So I enjoyed this site; it's tried really hard to be original, and has this neat space theme. To be honest the graphics are just awesome, but you do need quite a high spec PC to cope with them. Loads of features and games, you've got to have Flash AND Shockwave because there are some 3d games (I played Cosmic Cleanup - a lot!). There's a lot on here too, loads to explore. Good quizzes too. Some were quite hard...! Gets my thumbs up.

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