Online Virtual Worlds for Tweens

Tweens Need Virtual Worlds That Meet Their Unique Needs

Virtual worlds are online destinations in which players can explore, play games, interact, and win prizes. Most virtual worlds encourage players to create "avatars" -- virtual versions of themselves. Avatars are usually endowed with characteristics selected by the player. While virtual worlds created for adults can contain violent or sexual content, worlds created for children are intended to be fun, cute, and unthreatening. Most such kid-friendly worlds are also designed to be safe;...MORE players are not able to interact with one another except in the most controlled manner.

Tweens are stuck in that place between being a little kid and being a teenager. They are still drawn to some of the things that appeal to the younger set, but also want more sophisticated options and a bit more freedom. The content of these virtual worlds is kid-friendly but unlike those created for young children they offer more opportunities for chatting and more complex navigation. They are typically geared towards kids 10-14.

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    Mother and daughter using laptop together at home
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    Dizzywood, a free virtual world, is a little different from the average -- and that's a good thing. As you explore the different environments in Dizzywood, you can play games, take part in quests and discover all kinds of surprises. It's fun to wander around because you never know what you'll find. This is definitely a site to watch.

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    Whyville is one of the oldest virtual worlds for kids. Avatars are basically floating heads and it's a popular spot for tweens to chat. Whyville has quite a bit of educational content ranging from art appreciation to physics. Whyville is free to join and easy to get started.

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    Disney's Club Penguin is one of the first, and most popular, virtual worlds for kids. Imagine a world filled with snow and technicolor penguins! Basic registration is free, but premium membership is available.