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Rising Number of Tween Online Gamers: Kids Safety

By Tim Woda on February 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM

online gamesOlder studies reported that the age of the average online gamer was somewhere in the 40s. But now, the age of the average gamer is 32. What does this mean? It means that tweens are entering the mix – and they’re most likely yours.

The overwhelming majority of tweens are online, navigating their ways through virtual worlds. 91% of boys and 93% of girls ages 8 to 11 report playing online games, up dramatically from just five years ago.

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Parents Guide to Neopets Kids Safety

By Steven Woda on February 9, 2011 at 3:02 PM

NeopetsSort of a Tamagotchi-Pokémon hybrid, Neopets is an online game where players earn and spend virtual Neopoints to customize and care for up to 4 colorful cartoon animals.

Neopets launched in 1999 as a gaming site for bored college students, and today there are more teens and adults on Neopets than there are on comparable sites like Webkinz or Club Penguin.

After registering (kids under 13 must do so with a parent’s email), players can buy clothes, food, toys, and even houses for their Neopets. They can also track their Neopet’s stats as they train it to fight other virtual animals in the Battledome.

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Nintendo 3DS Warning: 3D Harmful to Kids' Eyes

By Steven Woda on February 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM

nintendo controllerThe newest Nintendo game console is anticipated to arrive this spring, and it’s pretty different from other gaming systems on the market. Without the aid of glasses, Nintendo claims to create 3-dimensional effects in its new portable 3DS console.

But it’s not for kids under 6, Nintendo warns, because it could potentially damage their vision.

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Is IMVU Appropriate for Your Kids?

By Tim Woda on January 14, 2011 at 3:08 PM

At the top of the homepage is a screenshot of a shirtless man and a busty woman in a bikini top embracing in waist-deep water and staring into each other’s eyes with the phrase “Create your fantasy” underneath.

The website is called IMVU, a realistic Sims-like game and social networking virtual world purported to be for kids ages 13 and up.

IMVU players select an avatar and buy clothing and items to personalize its world. The avatars have adult bodies (not 13-year-old ones,) and virtually all of the female avatars are sexy and large-chested with suggestive outfits to match.

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Check the Rating of Your Holiday Video Games 2010

By Steven Woda on December 20, 2010 at 3:09 PM

video gameDoes your 2010 holiday list include a child, tween, or teen gamer? Statistics say that 90% of parents don’t check a video game’s rating before buying it for their child.

Whether your kid is 6 or 16, it’s important to know what type of content is in the game he’ll be playing. While video game ratings, like movie ratings, are far from perfect, they can help parents decide whether certain content is appropriate for their child or not.

2010 Holiday Games Rated E (for everyone ages 6+)

Games rated E are appropriate for most kids over 6. They may contain mild violence and mischief. Some hot holiday games for 2010 are:

    • Gran Turismo 5
    • Epic Mickey
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Xbox 101: What Every Parent Needs to Know

By Tim Woda on April 12, 2010 at 3:29 PM

xbox Xbox.  Xbox 360.  Xbox LIVE.  What’s the difference between these systems and what do we need to know as parents.  Let’s start with the basics.

When I was a kid “social gaming” meant sitting around with your friends on beanbag chairs, waiting for your turn at Pac-Man with the one joy stick we had.  The definition of “social gaming” for our children’s generation is very different.

Today, our children can pick up their controller and play a game of Halo with someone 1,000 miles away by connecting online.  They can check to see if their friends are “online” and join them in “multi-player mode”, all while sitting on beanbag chairs in different houses.  The world of gaming is changing rapidly and as parents we need to change the image we have of how kids play video games.

Microsoft’s Xbox is just one example of “social gaming”. These systems allow the user to connect online through your homes internet connection to download new games, chat or play with others users, download and watch movies, or even share photos.

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Kids Safety Question: Could Your Kids Be Building An Army of Webkinz?

By Steven Woda on June 4, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Being online doesn't just refer to the computer located in your kitchen.  Kids access the Internet from laptops, mobile phones, gaming consoles and handheld devices.  Are your kids building an army of Webkinz?  Are you worried your teen will have arthritic thumbs from texting too so much? If this sounds familiar, let's talk.

Obviously technology has a ton of benefits to our children but you may be concerned about what they're doing in the world of bits and bytes and what decisions they're making.  If you're not concerned, you are probably at least at least curious.  Most of us don't fully understand some aspects of the technology that our kids are using.  The good news is that you can become more familiar with technology and you can learn about the issues that affect your kids online.  These issues include cyberbullying, revealing too much and predators.

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