Like adults who enjoy role playing games such as The SIMS or World of Warcraft, some children also enjoy leaping into the virtual world and having some fun. While you want your child to have a good time and enjoy the hobbies that they love, it is our job to also keep them safe while game playing on the Internet. There are available role playing games on the Internet in which children may engage in, have fun and be protected at the same time. Below are a few of the games in which your child who is interested in role playing may try out.
Ecobuddies (www.ecobuddies.com): Ecobuddies is a an online virtual world that allows children between the ages of 6-14 to learn while they are having fun. Children are educated about science, animals and nature. The online game is safe and user-friendly for children of that age group. Some of the development team that is responsible for creating and “watching over” the game include a former artist for kid’s show (Chad Greenway), a youth and family social worker (Ferma Ravn-Greenway), a volunteer teacher and programmer (Paul Ward) and a former elementary school teacher, Colay Plangg. Parents can have a peace of mind to know that their children are in the hands of individuals who have a deep love for children and also understand the concepts when it comes to creating a fun and safe place to play. At Ecobuddies, children can chat with one another, collect costumes, houses, cars and pets that are made for their own personalized avatars. Ecobuddies is free to play, but parents may purchase a membership for their child so that they can buy even more extra accessories or houses for their online character. Children begin playing Ecobuddies by creating their own little hamster avatar in which they can change their head, face and clothes. After creating an avatar, a child then can choose which part of the environment in which they would like to play: conifer or evergreen. To earn coins and money to purchase a house or other accessories, children may play games such as Soccer Juggle, Air Hockey and Bowling Buddies. Visit “grandma” or “Fran” to see about purchasing a pet or home once your child gets started.
Secret Builders (www.secretbuilders.com) Children can enter the virtual world of Secret Builders where they can explore or complete quests to earn money to build homes. Players between the ages of five and fourteen will enjoy chatting with other players, playing games and traveling on virtual adventures. On the game of secret builders, children may interact with “famous people characters” in the game, participate in creative writing activities to allow others to read and comment on, have fun using their imagination and play art-related games, build computer skills by playing typing tutor like games and expand their logic by engaging in games such as checkers and chess. Membership at Secret Builders is free, but parents may also purchase other memberships to allow their children to expand their activity play or have more money to purchase member only clothes, furniture, pets and experience other quests. Parents can be sure that their children are playing at a safe zone at Secret Builders as no personal information is shared, children’s virtual homes can be entirely private, the message forums are all moderated and chat filters are used. The rules of the online virtual world are strictly enforced, all IP addresses are logged and lifetime bans will be “awarded” if necessary.
For parents who are concerned about their child who adores jumping into virtual worlds and chatting with others, there are safe areas for them to play, learn and have fun. Many online games are created and moderated by parents, teachers and those who work with children on a daily basis. It is best to always make sure that your child is protected while online, and a computer should always be placed in a family area where someone can keep an eye on a child’s computer use.