Games and VirtualWorlds
All kids and tweens love games. It’s your favorite online activity. Most kids and tweens visit WebKinz,
Club Penguin, Pokemon, Bearville and other virtual worlds. Some sites, like Disney.com, Miniclips.com and
CandyStand.com have free and fun simple games. You can play them online, offline and on your cell
phones,iPod, handheld gaming devices, like DS, DSi and PSPs, or on game consoles, like Xbox, PlayStations or
There are four things kids and tweens need to think about when playing computer and video games:
1. Think before your register.While some sites are trustworthy, others aren’t. Before you give
away your email address, name or other personal information, ask your parents. Don’t use a site
that asks for too much personal information and think about using a special email address just
for signing up at sites, so you aren’t giving your official email address away.
2. Make sure the gaming site or game is appropriate for kids and tweens your age. Offline games
are rated by the ESRB for different ages. It’s good to stick with games rated for your age, unless
your parents agree that a different rating is okay for you. You may be a very good gamer, but
the others on a game site are all 25 year olds and aren’t very nice to kids or tweens playing the
game. If the game site is limited to teens and older, don’t lie about your age to pretend you are
older. You can get the site into trouble and can get into trouble yourself if they find out.
3. Find out how much it costs first. Some game sites and virtual worlds are free, or are free for kids
or tweens who buy their toys or offline products. Others either cost money to join or have a
section or features you can use only if you pay for them. Check with your parents before joining
anything that costs money. Even if you have their credit card or PayPal information, or access to
your own payment account, check first. And look for hidden fees or sites that try and get you to
buy things every day to dress your avatars or decorate your rooms. These fees can add up fast!
4. Practice password safety. Choose your password carefully. Remember – easy to remember, hard
to guess! Don’t share it with anyone even your best friend. And if you are going away and can’t
feed or care for your avatar or online pet, don’t give it to someone so they can care for your pet
in your absence.
All top virtual worlds have a way to keep your pet or avatar well while you are offline. (You
might have to ask them in advance how to do that, though.) If you want a friend who is a really
good gamer to help you earn more points in a game or virtual world, you should log on privately
before you let them use your account. If they are a good friend, they won’t mind. And if you
think someone is using your account without your permission, let your parents and the game
company know so they can help you.