What Are Some Virtual World Web Sites for Kids

What are some virtual world websites for kids? Despite the advances in colorful virtual imaging that keeps kids enthralled, parents know that the Internet can be a pernicious place for their children. However, there are some fun, safe sites that their kids can enjoy.

Virtual Pet Sites
One option is a virtual pet site. Virtual pets are digitalized versions of your favorite four-legged friends. There are a few virtual websites for you to choose from. NeoPets is free online virtual world that your child and her pet can explore and interact with. While NeoPets is popular, there is an element of violence, as pets can fight each other if they enter the "Battledomes," and some parents may be uncomfortable with the amount of advertising. WebKinz, another popular site, is geared toward a younger audience. This site goes along with the popular plush toys. The downside is you have to purchase a plush toy in order to be able to access the website. Both sites offer games and entertainment for your child, but with little educational value.

Educational Options
For parents looking for something a bit more mentally stimulating for their children, there's Tootsville. Tootsville centers around virtual imaging cartoon elephants called Toots. This site offers a bit more in terms of educational games. The downside is that, like WebKinz, to get the full experience users must pay a fee to become premium members. A nice alternative is the website Poptropica. This is a free website filled with enriching games involving history, art and other school subjects. Children can travel around to different virtual islands and interact with each other through pre-scripted text, so there's no need to fear malicious chat or behavior. Also, all personal information is hidden, and users must choose from a list of preset character names. There is no violence involved, and children are encouraged to work together to solve problems. However, one thing to watch out for is the banner ads that the website utilizes to hawk breakfast cereals.

A Note About Your Child's Safety
It's important to keep in mind that, no matter how fun and safe websites appear to be, always monitor your child's Internet usage just to make sure they don't accidentally click onto anything that could be potentially harmful.

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