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Driving Kids

By Andrew Lankin
Albymedia Limited / Edutainment Games for Kids / Driving Kids
http://www.drivingkids.com/

709A/65B, Timiryazeva Str., Business Center
SAIL, Minsk 220035
Belarus

Driving Kids is an online game targeted at "preschoolers and early-school children." On the website the company makes this statement: "Driving Kids is designed to meet the demand for a safe and creative international virtual MMO game for kids." I found this disturbing, as did my adult daughter, the mother of the grandchildren I am homeschooling. How can we be assured of a safe online environment for a small child? It seems very plausible that a pedophile would be willing to pay a small fee to be part of this online environment. I personally do not feel that at this age there is any need for a site where children are meeting strangers to play games online.

I puttered around on the site a bit and then asked my daughter and her daughters for their opinions as well. The 5-year-old was not very interested. The 12-year-old said that she found the map confusing but that it was easier than just driving around on the little scooter. The point of the game is to gather all the pieces for a semi-truck. Some of the games cannot be played unless someone else is online and playing them too. There is a stoplight icon that you can click any time to get help. There is also some reading required, so younger children would need adult help. The 12-year old did have some words of praise for the game: "It is fun and kids can learn something very easily--without even trying, actually."

My younger granddaughter and my daughter were less enthusiastic. Both felt that free sites such as Nick Jr. offer more selection and easier-to-understand play without the danger of interaction with strangers.

I doubt we will use this site much, and I really don't feel comfortable recommending it to other parents/grandparents. It is an interesting concept; without the interactive part, I would be more able to recommend it.



Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, April 2011


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