Children today are used to being surrounded by technology. From an early age, they want mobile phones, tablets or any device that can entertain them. That’s where parents start worrying about the kind of content their children are accessing, as some social networks and websites are simply inappropriate for them.
With this in mind, and also thinking about the types of activities children enjoy online, here is a list of suggested sites/apps.
A website where children can play online and carry out missions. To do so, they just have to create a penguin avatar, personalized the way they please. Other options on the site are drawing activities, wallpapers, comics and scripted interaction with other children. Certain modes of the game require an inscription.
The website is quite safe and inappropriate behaviour can result in the user being banned. There is even a test to see if children know how to keep safe online, the reward for completing the test is some virtual coins that can be used in-game. The site also contains safety-tips and for children to have access to the games, an adult’s email address is required. The website is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
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The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
Reccommended Children’s Book: Little Yellow Riding Hood
A social network aimed at children under 13 years of age. The little ones can chat, share their status updates, have a blog, email, personalise their avatars, send photos and play on-line. The website has the kidSAFE® seal, a service which certifies the trustworthiness and safety of other websites in terms of child access. There is also a space for parents, where it is possible to enable/disable certain features and monitor children’s use, including whether or not they can post photos. The website is high on security features: whenever a user makes contact with another user, the parents are informed, and any content which parents consider inappropriate can be requested to be taken down. The network is only available in English.
A website for children to have fun with educational games, create avatars the way they like and chat with other children in a secure virtual environment. The site also has the kidSAFE® seal, and parents can choose what type of chat their children have access to, or even disable it completely. Other rules such as no sharing of personal information (like address and telephone number), no bullying and no sexual comments are rigorously applied and users can be banned if they violate them. The website is available in English and Spanish versions.
The latest social network for children is Magic Bubble. Created by Brazilians, it creates child-versions of world cities. Children can enter into these cities and play and interact with other children, as well as answering tests about the cities they have visited. The more questions they get right, the more virtual coins they win, these can be exchanged for other benefits on the website. For the peace of mind of parents, the site has staff monitoring conversations, and software which doesn’t allow inappropriate language. Under-age children will need parental authorization to access the site and sign up, as the service requires information like the Brazilian CPF (like a British NI Number). To access extra content, the user will need to pay a monthly fee, but the free version is perfectly enjoyable. For the moment the website is only available in Portuguese, but will soon have an English version.