Online Games for Children and Families
Online gaming and socializing isn’t just for teens and college students anymore. There are a number of Web sites built specifically for family video games. Try out some of the games below with your kids, or search the internet for other family-friendly games.
Games for Parents and Children
- Disney’s Toontown—In nonviolent Toontown, kids create their own cartoon character and try to rid the town of humorless cogs by playing gags and tricks on them. Visit Toontown.
- Webkinz—This game bridges the gap between real life and online toys. Kids buy stuffed animals that have a Web code attached, granting them access to the Webkinz Web site, where their toys come to life and they can take care of their pets, play games, and chat with other “pet owners.” Go to the Webkinz Web site.
- Club Penguin—New members are offered small, virtual penguins that they can adopt, feed, and take care of. Kids can also play games, chat, and socialize with their friends. Join Club Penguin.
For more games the whole family can enjoy, visit FamilyFriendlyVideoGames.com.
A child’s safety is of primary concern when playing online games, and companies often take extra precautions to ensure that kids can’t reveal personal information or use inappropriate language on these sites. Before allowing your child to play an online game, see which precautions have been taken to ensure her safety.
Spending time playing games online with your kids is a fun way to provide an introduction to good online gaming habits, and it can help you learn a lot about what your kids are doing online. Encourage them to choose family-friendly games that you can play, too.
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• Watch the clock. Kids can spend hours on these sites when they could be outside playing, reading, or otherwise exploring the world.
• Check out the site yourself before allowing your child to use it, and use parental controls on your computer to monitor time spent.
• Talk about appropriate netiquette and what kind of private information should not be shared online.
• There are often paid membership upgrades available for free gaming sites; talk to your kids about financial values and set limits up front.
• If kids are under the recommended age for the site, don't let them play.