Today's tour includes some of the most popular kid sites on the Net. These online playgrounds host millions of kids each week who gather to play kids games, chat, meet e-pals and generally have fun. After all, it's summer and for most of us that means no school and plenty of free time.
Headbone has separate moderated chat rooms for Kids and Teens, as well as a combination chat room/word game called Sometimes Y. As with FreeZone, unregistered users have limited ability to join in the fun. Once registered, not only can you join in the chats, but you can also sign up for a free email account. This kid-safe email account allows parents to control incoming mail. You can choose to allow all incoming mail, only mail from certain (family and friends) email addresses, or to block email from specific addresses. Pretty slick, huh? Other recommended features are the educational games â€” which I've written about many times before.
For the youngest surfers, Kidscom offers Mousers: a collection of Shockwave and Java-based games. Chatters will like the Graffiti Wall Chats; one for eleven and younger, another for twelve and older. On both walls, foul language is controlled by a computer-based censor. The younger chat also has a human monitor during specified hours. Also popular is the international Key Pal program, which requires signed parental permission. A unique activity is Voice to the World, which encourages kids to send messages to prime ministers and presidents on issues such as AIDS research, the environment, and world hunger.
This very creative site has a barrel full of fun, noisy, interactive activities, but I was frequently frustrated by slow loading pages. Top hits are Stomps and Stamps (create a noisy drawing), DigSig (design an animated self-portrait) and Parties (surf the Web with a theme). You will need to register if you want to save your digital signature and favorite surfing links.