Friday, September 26, 2008

Woogi World - the place to be?

When MomCentral put out a call for interested parents to review Woogi World, I was super excited. My son doesn't normally do computer games, but that's mainly because the boy can't seem to sit still for more than 30 seconds. I was hoping that maybe THIS website would capture his attention.

Woogi World is a website for kids filled with all sorts of educational games and ways to earn prizes. A child can chose a Woogi, name him/her, dress him/her and even decorate the Woogi's house (aka wigwam). Plus, there's some great information for parents as well as grandparents. And the site offers "basic internet training" for kids on how to navigate through cyberspace safely. According to the site, children can "safely experiment with and practice behavior in a microcosm that they’ll eventually need to know and display when they explore the much broader, unsecured and precarious online world." Kids can earn extra points for completing this training. Oh and? No advertising of any outside products. No advertising at all, actually.

So what did we think? It started out promising. There's a cute little game your child can play with the mouse while the site downloads. But overall, we found things a bit confusing.

At times, when it asks for user name, we'd enter my son's Woogi name. And when it asks to enter a passcode, I'd enter the one we had set up but it would get rejected. It would ask for an email address but sometimes that didn't work either. Then you are taken to the "Bulletin Board". There wasn't an obvious place for the games. (You have to close the bulletin board window to get to the game area.)

My son also had some frustration with some of the game stuff. All he wanted to do is let the Woogi roam around and explore what was on the site but soon found himself underwhelmed and frustrated. After hearing my son whine, "Mmoooomm. I can't get this to wwwooorrrrkkk" about eight times every five minutes, I'd get frustrated too. And we'd do something else. I went back to the site with him three different times and it was pretty much the same experience each time. (I went to the site several times more but I didn't get much farther than he did.)

But at one point, we did find a great game that we played over and over again. We had to work as a team and it turned into a really fun experience. Basic membership is free and the more advanced is just $6.95 a month.

But for kids like Seth, who aren't big on sitting still? You might want to wait a bit before you sign them up.
This review was written on behalf of MomCentral.

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