Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
This summer, Disney is set to launch a new virtual world based on their Cars franchise. Like the myriad of other interactive worlds, this will allow your children to pick, design and name their characters. The question is, do your children have enough time to invest in another fantasy site? If they’re under the age of 12, chances are, they already subscribe to at least one of the two hundred virtual worlds on the web. My kids have joined and grown tired of the prolific Club Penguin, which was released in 2007 and is estimated to reach 35 million users in 190 countries. My daughter glams it up at TyGirlz.com, flutters around Pixie Hollow, and earns treats at Hasbro’s LittlestPetShop.com. They've learned about recycling and endangered species at the eco-friendly HabitatHeroes.com and earned boat loads of “kinz” cash to decorate rooms for their Webkinz. I don’t think we have time for another “world” in our lives.
With children already spending nearly 8 hours on media each day, something’s gotta give. When are they spending time in the “real” world? You know, the one where they get vitamin D from the sun and get exercise by playing at a park or in the snow. I am all for creative and imaginative play, but you don’t need a website for that. These companies, like Disney and Mattel are banking on the fact that you do. I think it’s time to play, unplugged.