August 03, 2007

Site of the Week: Club Penguin


We hear a lot about teens and computers, about social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. But even though my 7- and 9- year olds are pretty savvy about computers and have e-mail accounts that they use to write to their grandparents, I was still taken a bit by surprise when my son asked if could go online and join Club Penguin.

Club Penguin is a virtual world aimed at the 8-14 year-old set where they can chat and play games together, all while decked out as very colorful penguins. A basic account is free, but it doesn't take long for kids to realize that as they play games and help other penguins out and accumulate coins, they can buy clothes and pets for their penguins, and decorate their igloos - but only if they have a paid account which runs $5.95/month.

After spending some time exploring the site with my son,  I found it to be a nice safe way that kids can have fun playing and chatting with friends. There's always a moderator available and kids are encouraged to report penguins with bad behavior. The site is currently ad-free, though it's recently entered a new partnership with Disney so hopefully it will remain so. Club Penguin is Cozi's pick of the week for a site that might be of interest to families using the Cozi free online family calendar.



I am against club penguin. Although there is a moderator, it is still a chat room and there could still be adults posing as children on the site. My daughter joined while at her grandparents home and I told her I would research it. After researching it, I decided that she will not be allowed on it because it is a chat room. There are adults that use the site to stay connected with family, such as grandparents, however, I do not want my child online telling people she doesn't know information about herself. IP addresses can be tracked very easily by the right person along with any other piece of information they can get from her such as her real name or city. I think that alot of what is wrong with kids today is that they are too busy playing on the computers. They need to get outside and ride their bikes and play with their friends like 8-12 year olds should be.

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