Thursday, March 4, 2010

Moshi Monsters

As I write this post (March 2010), my kids are five and seven years old, and have Webkinz accounts.  Yesterday they were introduced, by a seven year old friend, to

It's free to sign up, and it seemed kid friendly enough, so I helped my kids each adopt a monster and create a profile. I also set up a profile for myself, and while I haven't had much of a chance to browse through the site, I thought I'd share the two internet lessons my kids have already encountered.

1) Personal information: Your new monster welcomes you, with a few questions.  I had no problem with the country and gender questions, but when the cute, endearing creature on the screen asked for a birthday, this prompted our first internet safety lesson. NEVER give out personal information. Even though the monster asks for month and day only, and not year, it's still unacceptable in my opinion. Unfortunately you can't continue unless you enter something, so we made up random dates.

2) Unscripted messaging and stranger friending:  My daughter's seven year old classmate, who showed us the site, turned to me at one point to ask for help spelling a word. I looked at her screen and saw that she was typing a message to someone on her friends list. When I asked her who her friends were, she said they were people she didn't know in person, and told me what countries they were from.

Really? You're SEVEN, typing freely, to people whose identities you know nothing about?

This prompted my immediate further involvement: I created my own account, adopted my own monster, and friend requested my two kids (in my opinion, the best way to learn and protect is to participate). As I am a silver-lining kind of person, I am going to use this as an opportunity to teach my kids more about internet safety. Also, in the defense of Moshi Monsters, (because I try and be fair) their forum is moderated.

Still, this is a site, in my opinion, that requires direct supervision.

WebEyesOpen Home

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from Monstro City!

    Thank you for your review of Moshi Monsters, it's great to see parents taking an interest in our site and blogging about their experiences within the Moshi Monsters community. As you noted a couple of issues you've experienced, I'd like to address them from our point of view.

    First, our monsters request birthdates from the children that register simply to provide our customer service agents information in the event that you need assistance with your account. The date of birth is never visible to anyone other than our vetted staff. Only the age of the child is visible on their Moshi Monsters profile.

    Secondly, thank you for mentioning that we allow "free chat" within Moshi Monsters, as we believe this to be a very important point for parents to understand. We do not have a scripted chat facility, such as that of Club Penguin, as we believe that free expression is key to an enjoyable experience.

    Moshi Monsters doesn't have a chat room area, but we do have pinboards in each house where friends can leave messages for each other. All postings within the Moshi Monsters site are run through a filtering program to block inappropriate content, and our pinboard messages are text limited to 140 characters. There is no private messaging function, and all messages are publicly visible. While some children's sites allow for private messaging between users, Moshi Monsters believes that there is no topic suitable for discussion within our site that cannot be discussed in public view.

    Children can only send or receive receive messages from those they accept as a friend, which provides for another layer of protection against inappropriate content. To block further contact from another user, all you have to do is remove them from your friends list and they can no longer send you messages.

    Not only is our forum moderated, but all messages within our site have the option to report directly to a moderator. This allows children (and parents) the ability to self-police the postings which they receive, as well as report inappropriate conduct on an other pinboard they visit.

    We encourage all parents of Moshi players to monitor their use of the site, or even better, to play Moshi with them! Many parents have found that playing Moshi Monsters with their children has increased bonding, and become a favorite family activity.

    If you ever have a question regarding our systems, our staff would be happy to assist. Simply contact us through our contact form at!

    Happy Monstering! :)