Monday, 30 June 2014

Club Penguin - a safe virtual world

review post.

Online gaming can feel like a bit of a minefield where our kids are concerned. They want to be playing the latest games with their friends, but at the same time us parents are left with worries about their safety. After all, in a virtual world, all is often not what it seems, and we want to keep our children safe from harm without limiting their fun.

Disney offered us a month's trial of the snow-covered virtual playground world of Club Penguin. Club Penguin is "the #1 children's online world globally, where children meet to play games, have fun and interact in the guise of penguins. Since its beginnings in 2005, over 220 million penguin avatars have been created in 190 countries and children log in from around the world to play in six different languages.

Club Penguin is known around the globe for its unwavering commitment to providing a safe online experience that doesn't compromise creativity or fun. This month (June 19-July 1) Club Penguin is throwing a 2 week in-world football themed party in celebration of the World Cup."

H loves Club Penguin, and has played it on and off over the past couple of years. I have been happy for him to join this site having checked out the parental controls, and I really appreciate Disney's dedication to online safety. There are live moderators available around the clock, as well as filtered chat and 'ultra safe' chat. Club Penguin has a comprehensive list of safety tips for parents and kids available to read and download on their site, as well as advice for monitoring your children's internet use. Safety features are there to protect our children, but should not be used in place of our own supervision.

H enjoys playing Club Penguin, he made and named his own penguin (the names have to be approved by moderators), and with his character he explores the various different servers within the game. There are mini games to play, and lots of things that you can buy with virtual coins - that you earn by completing missions & games - such as clothing, pets (known as puffles), and even furniture for your penguin's igloo, and if you subscribe to the Club Penguin magazine you can complete challenges which reward you with codes to redeem within the game to earn even more coins to spend! I asked H what his favourite thing is about Club Penguin, and he said "because I can play it with my friends from school".

Club Penguin magazine subscriptions cost just £17.50 for six months. The magazine includes lots of fun cartoons, games, & free items, as well as opportunities to share screenshots of your penguin and gameplay which could win you coins. You can even send in your own letters, jokes, & photos.

Club Penguin's Online Safety Tips for Parents:

Just like in the real world, your child's online experiences are better when you're aware, curious, and engaged.
  • Install filters to protect your child from inappropriate websites.
  • Keep tabs on your child’s internet use. Make sure you know what sites your child visits, how much time he or she spends on them, and whom your child is communicating with.
  • Set limits for screen time to have a balance with real world connections.
  • Put the family computer in a public place in your home, such as a kitchen or family room, to encourage an open dialogue and discourage unwanted online behavior.
  • Consider not allowing your child to have any connected devices, such as a smartphone, laptop computer, or tablet, in private areas of your home, like a bedroom or bathroom.
  • Keep the conversation going. Start talking with your child at an early age about online use and continue the dialogue as your child gets older.
  • Know any passwords that your child uses, and explain that they shouldn’t be shared with friends.

We received a complimentary one month Club Penguin subscription for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.

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