Last week the editors at Green Options asked me if I wanted to write a review of Woogi World. “Uh, okay, I haven’t written a hatchet piece an ages.” was my unenthusiastic reply.
Here’s the deal in my house. My kids get 30 minutes of media; it can be a TV show or some computer time. I’ll give them longer for a movie when we watch together or an hour or more when they’re playing with pictures or Garage Band, but really, leaving my kids parked in front of the computer on a glorious summer day is not my idea of time well spent.
With all that being said, this review may surprise you.
I gave my daughter a link to the site, she’s nine. Jane went ahead and set up her Woogi on her own. My seven year old son needed help, even though he’s a good reader and has his own email address.
Alexander (seven) logged onto Woogi World and immediately declared, “Ooh, they’re so cute.” He adopted a pet, made himself a name and started playing some games. Then he got bored. Alexander begged for an upgrade. If I wasn’t entrusted with the duty of reviewing this site I would have said, “No” and my kids would have missed a spectacular site.
Yes, I said spectacular. Even as I write this and gather a few screen shots for you I’m engrossed. Woogi World is a delightful website that does a lot to teach kids about internet safety. I’m a parent too, and I know we oftentimes sound like a broken record. While I’m telling my kids not to put their real names on the internet Disney is churning out iCarly and the kids all want to be internet stars. Disney, I never did get around to thanking you for that abomination (lookie! I’m waving my middle finger!).
Back to the Woogi, Every part of the site is academic, but it’s presented as adorable fun. Rather than only clicking, children are read to as they read the same words. This is one of the best and most basic ways children learn to read. I’d also like to thank them for tossing in a little adult humor, the parodies of the boss aren’t lost on me.
Internet safety seems to be a top priority for this site. A close second would be community service, which gives you extras. I think you all know by now that I want my children to give back. It’s not unreasonable at almost $7 a month. If you’re looking for free, I feel for you. Free gives you exactly what you pay for, skeevy advertising aimed at kids, spyware and some nut job selling your data.
In no particular order, I have two girls yelling the benefits of Woogi World in my ear.
- It’s fun
- It’s safe, that’s what they teach you and what the games are about
- The woogi’s are cute
- Member or no member, you can buy a zoogie, even though it’s a lot of money (I think they mean a pet)
- It’s fun to have your own kid that you can do basically anything with
- You can win prizes and medals and trophies when you complete a service
I’m going to wrap this one up with a ringing endorsement of Woogi World. They’ve even had the presence of mind to buy (and redirect) some common misspellings of their URL so my kids don’t mistakenly end up in the wrong spot (White House [dot] com anyone?)
I wanted to hate it. I wanted to write a review so scathing and cruel that everyone would read it and tell a friend to check out the train wreck. This tech savvy momma adores WoogiWorld. It’s probably most appropriate for kids five to eleven, but Mom and Dad might enjoy it too.