App Review Feature Spotlight:
Animal Jam - Play Wild!
Common Sense Media says
Kid community to collect, customize, and chat, not learn.
What parents need to know
Ease of use
Violence & scariness
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Privacy & Safety
What Kids Can Learn
Kids can learn a very limited amount of animal trivia and may pick up some lessons about interacting with others online. There are small pieces of animal trivia scattered throughout the playground-like world, which kids can tap to get a quick animal fact, very brief facts on each loading screen, and a location in the game with a small library of animal videos (all of which are available elsewhere on the Internet for free), but none of it promotes learning in a meaningful way. Also, kids sometimes scam each other through the trading mechanic, so while most of their interactions will be benign and fun, kids might learn that online interactions aren't always nice. This may be a reasonably fun game with opportunities for kids to be social, but the overwhelming message of Animal Jam - Play Wild! is one of consumerism, not animal awareness and conservation.
Whats it about?
ANIMAL JAM – PLAY WILD! is an online virtual community where kids can create and customize an animal character and interact with other players in an open world of adventure. They can play mini-games, attend timed social events, collect items, trade them, chat with other players, send private messages, and invite players to play games. Parents who set up an account can control the type of chat their kids can use -- preselected text or typing -- though only approved messages will be visible to others, and outright profanity results in an account suspension. Throughout the game world, there are a few animal facts provided by National Geographic, and there's a location where kids can watch animal videos.
Is it any good?
While the graphics and animations are great, the games and social interactions are limited, and the learning content is very trivial. There's no doubt that the app is well-made and most kids could spend many happy hours playing, so the question of quality is more about whether it's time well spent. In many ways it's only a virtual version of collecting toys, with real-world dollars attached to digital objects. Ultimately, there are better alternatives to the mini-games and social spaces and better (physical) alternatives to the collecting features. If there were more focus on animals and nature and less on earning things, the experience would be much richer for the target age.
This rating and review provided by Common Sense Media.
For more information, please visit www.commonsense.org