Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sort of Like 'Second Life' for Kids

Daddy, the server is running slow! - My six-year old daughter

My daughter doesn't know what a server is, but she does know when Club Penguin is running slow.

Club Penguin is a junior on-line community that is owned (through acquisition) by Disney. It is played through a browser with no special software required. Each member gets a penguin (naturally) that they move around the on-line world.

You can interact with other penguins, but the main attraction to my daughter is exploring the world, playing games to earn "money", and then using the money to buy clothes, wigs, hats, a better house, or even a pet (called a "puffle").

The site is moderated and there are no ads since you have to pay about six bucks a month (you can start playing for free, but to buy anything you have to get a membership). Unlike Second Life, the only way to earn money is through the on-line games.

Overall I have to say that I am satisfied with this sort of play for the following reasons:
  • Working With Computers - She is learning about the internet, using the address bar on a browser, and understanding that she is tied into a larger network.
  • Understanding Earning, Spending and Saving - She sees all the things she wants to buy for her penguin, and understands she has to "work" (play games) to earn money , and then save the money until she gets enough to buy the object she wants.
She doesn't interact yet with other penguins, but I see that one coming down the road eventually.

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