With the option to write messages to other users, a constantly updated news feed, and the unspoken pressure to obtain as many friends as possible, “Moshi Monsters” seems to have certain qualities that Facebook possesses.
“Moshi Monsters” is the first social network that children can play on before they are old enough to be introduced to Facebook. Michael Acton Smith, the CEO of the company Mind Candy, describes how “Moshi Monsters” is an online program that targets the general desires of children to win games, socialize, and discover a new world of monsters. He also explains the purpose for creating “Moshi Monsters” by saying that they,
basically tried to re-imagine a Facebook for children under 12…that is as popular for kids as Facebook is for grownups. Kids like communicating and showing off and sharing as much as grown ups do.
Photo Credit: Gamersgame.com
Children, ages five to twelve, are given a choice of monsters to choose from and design to their liking.
Users of this program commonly friend other “owners” and communicate with these individuals by going to their monster’s “homes” and writing on bulletin boards that are provided in each house. These messages can consist of any content unless it includes personal information or is reported by another user.
This sort of communication and pressure to friend others seems to resemble the Facebook phenomenon that has overcome our society. But how similar are these programs? Did Mind Candy make the child-targeting Facebook they dreamed of creating?
On the plus side, kids are given a contract to agree to that asks for users to play safe, respect the Moshi community, refrain from bullying or rude behavior, and also to refrain from cheating or scamming. The child must then create an “owner name” and password, provide his or her age, and also provide an email address from either the child or a parent depending on the age of the applicant.
But let’s be honest. These online questions aren’t going to keep a kid from friending creepers and becoming obsessed with knowing other people’s business. With parental supervision, however, this could arguably be a beneficial way to prepare children for what Facebook has in store for them.
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