Whether you are a parent or a child, there is a lot to like about
KidsCom (http://www.kidscom.com/), but before encouraging your kids to
click in, be aware that this is a commercial site that exists to make
sales. What makes the site worthwhile is the balance that
prevails; it is entirely possible to play games, for instance, without
ever buying anything. Moreover, KidsCom is designed to help kids
learn while they play. Circle-1Network provides a link to its
corporate site at the bottom of each page explaining their marketing
aims and strategy.
Circle-1 also tries to keep children safe and prevent them making
purchases without parental knowledge by restricting many features on
their site to registered users. For instance, the chat site, Chat
and Buzz, is monitored by adults and kids are strictly to forbidden to
given any information on the site that would identify them to
others. It costs nothing to register, but the registration form
must be printed, signed by the parent, and mailed. (Complete
information is available by clicking on the KidsCom Club tab or the Got
Caveats aside, children between 8 and 15 will love this site. The
design is uncrowded and attractive, making it easy to read and
use. It is divided into seven sections: Games, Adventure,
Chat and Buzz, Make Friends, Cool Stuff (for sale), Create, and finally
KidsCom Club, a page that brings together registration materials and
information for children, parents and teachers.
This site is heavy on Flash and graphics, so a high-speed connection
with unlimited access would be preferable.
The games are played
on line and are fun and often educational. This will probably be
the first stop for most children, and registration is not required.
Adventure also contains games, but in the context of a story, which of
course practises reading skills. Enjoyment of this area will
depend a great deal on the abilities of the child and maybe the
willingness of parents or siblings to lend a hand.
Make Friends is an e-mail pen pal feature that requires registration to
keep the children safe. Teachers are encouraged to use this
feature as well, and instructions are given for doing so. Since
the site is available to children in a great many countries, this is a
great opportunity to get to know more about the world.
Create has wonderful materials for inspiring the creative muse in your
child. Predictably, the materials are there to make greeting
cards and share jokes. However, kids are also encouraged to write
stories and music, and make scrapbooks or even gadgets.
KidsCom is sure to be a hit for the 8 to 15 age group. There is a
companion site, KidsComJr, for younger children and another for parents
called ParentsTalk. KidsCom is a fine example of commercial use
of the internet which achieves business aims while providing useful and
fun activities for users, in this case children and their parents.