Woogi World

When offered the opportunity to “blog tour” Woogi World, I jumped at it. Elliot is in the right demographic and he’s been asking more and more to play on the computer. With Peter and I both being computer professionals we know our children will use computers. We know that the Internet is a large and wondrous place. Of course, I worry about Internet safety. I worry more about addictive personalities and meltdowns about limited screen time though.

Woogi World wants to help teach children to balance their computer activity with real-life activities. And they want our kids to be safe while participating in on-line activities.

The only other site that Elliot and I have played on together is the pre-revamped Sesame Street; my world view of child-oriented web sites is limited. With that said, I am impressed with Woogi World. It doesn’t lecture. It uses games to teach Internet safety, engaging games. It does however, require reading; Elliot can’t read. Or at least not well enough to play Woogi World on his own.

One of the things I read over with him

All good rules. Not rules *I* live by on the Internet, but I am not five-years old. Although, maybe I shouldn’t have shared that. If your child has no, or limited, Internet exposure I can see Woogi World being a good, valuable first exposure. Or if you yourself are not someone that participates in social networking sites (linkedin, facebook, twitter), I think Woogi World can help bride that gap. Eventually, our children’s online existence will be transparent.

In Woogi World you are a Woogi and you live in a Wigwam. This is Elliot’s – cute, eh?

Elliot caught onto the UI pretty quickly, more quickly than I did. I’m a) not a gamer and b) old & curmudgeonly stuck in my ways. Few of the icons were obvious to me. Thankfully, there were mouse-overs. And once I read them to Elliot, he remembered them fairly easily. There are some actions that didn’t behave like I expected. For example to make your Woogi move you point to where you want him/her and then click, it’s not click & drag which is what I would expect. Click & drag is more difficult and first-time computer users aren’t going to be that mechanically sophisticated. Obviously, someone very knowledgeable has considered the user experience.

There are two membership levels on Woogi World, one is free the other is a monthly subscription. We started playing with the free membership. Elliot was able to do a fair amount. With the Honors (paid) membership Elliot was able to explore more of the site. The site in not entirely unlocked for you just because you have an Honors membership, you have to earn features throughout the site; it’s progressive. For example, Elliot wants his Woogi to get a pet. But first he’ll have to earn some money so he can go to the pet store and purchase one.

If Elliot were awake, I think he would recommend the site. He is really interested in exploring more of the site. He asked every night last week if we had time to play Woogi World. And while the games are engaging, they are also limited in scope enough that it is easy to draw a line and say when it’s time to shut down; there are clear breaks between activities. I think it would be difficult for a child to say that they accidentally started another game after being told that “this is the last one and then it is bedtime.” It’s not like Sims where it just goes on and on for hours and then the sun comes up and you realize that term paper didn’t write it self. Or so I’ve heard.

I too recommend Woogi World as part of a child’s Internet exposure. If your child is a pre-reader (much nicer than illiterate) like mine, be prepared to participate in the most mundane of activities with them. But that’s sort of the point, they’re promoting screen-time as interactive family time. If your child can participate on their own, there are still opportunities for you to play games with them through the family center.

Full disclosure: for participating in Mom Central‘s blog tour reviewing Woogi World I was provided a complimentary 3-month Honors membership as well as an additional “thank you.”

4 smart people left their mark:

  1. Halimah, 29. September 2008, 5:40

    I’ll check it out – the Minion enjoys these sites. He is big into Club Penguin.

    Halimahs last blog post..Five

  2. Pamela, 29. September 2008, 19:20

    Olivia got a webkinz. And I am not the adult in charge of assisting her with the webkinz, and for that, I am thankful. How’s the music? That’s usually the part of the kiddo games that makes my brain bleed.

    I’ll file this one away for when she’s tired of WK.

    Pamelas last blog post..it all started with an innocent trip to the midwife, and also a LAUNDRY TREE GIVEAWAY

  3. nylonthread, 30. September 2008, 8:47

    That list has words to live by. I already feel like I share too much, so hope that once my kids start their online excursions, they have already absorbed some senses of caution. It’s certainly worth a few discussions!

    nylonthreads last blog post..Coloring to perfection

  4. Pamela, 30. September 2008, 14:17

    And haven’t you watched Dateline? You should really reconsider meeting people on the internet. I’m actually a seventy-two year old man who is running for POTUS. And you thought you knew me.

    Pamelas last blog post..it all started with an innocent trip to the midwife, and also a LAUNDRY TREE GIVEAWAY