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 imaginative virtual world is a safe place for music-loving kids to chat, hang out, make friends and -- most importantly -- make music. Visitors use their customized alien avatars (that come complete with their own musical instruments) to explore a universe that celebrates all things musical. Users can visit the recording studio and create custom music on the Mix-O-Matic, a music-making engine that creates unique tracks from thousands of different loops that were recorded by high-caliber professional musicians. The resulting songs can be shared in various ways on the site (perform a concert or form a band) and outside (post it on Facebook, create a ringtone, or save your own MP3).
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Is it any good?
Music-loving kids and aspiring musicians will find much to love on TOONS TUNES. It’s an engaging, visually impressive place for kids to hang out with peers, and its make-your-own-music capability is both enticing and easy to use. By mixing genres, tempos, and instruments, the site encourages musical exploration and the possibilities are endless. Of course, part of the pleasure of creating custom music is the ability to share it with others, and there are ample ways to do that here. All user-created songs are archived on the site’s Jukebox where they can be "requested" and played over and over. Like other virtual worlds, this one has its own currency, collected through a handful of well-executed games. Users can purchase musical instruments, clothing, pets, and furnishings to decorate a "pod." Kids who love making music (or even just noise) can happily and safely congregate here.
Online interaction: Parents receive an email to confirm registration and are able to choose which chat settings their child can use. Regular Safe Chat lets users type custom messages that are filtered, monitored, and moderated. Super Safe Chat provides a pre-screened set of chat messages that users can choose.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many online outlets for digital creativity. How can you use digital media to provide a creative outlet and spark your creativity? How do peers help teach you about your talents and your own creativity?
Talk about what you can do to stay safe when you’re online and hanging out in a virtual world.
Talk about avatars and why they’re important to have to protect privacy online. What do your avatar choices say about you? How can you express yourself and show your own personality with an avatar?