Thursday, March 29, 2012

Play It Safe

We often talk about safety -- real world safety as well as internet safety. This is something that Princess has learned about from us as well as the BrainPOP video on internet safety.

Princess discovered a new online game from National Geographic, called Animal Jam. This is her current passion and therefore, she spends most of her computer time playing it . . . with a little Minecraft thrown in here and there. It's a free membership, but she is using her allowance to pay for a premium membership. Yes, it is just that cool!

She's picking up some animal facts and is having a fun time playing in the Animal Jam world, collecting animals, making friends (or buddies), buying a variety of things using points, participating in contests and more.

Princess has really been having a lot of fun with it, until the other night. Another player asked her for two pieces of furniture. At first Princess said yes, but then changed her mind and said no. The other player told her that if she didn't give the furniture, Princess would be reported. Being a researcher, Princess found what happens when people are reported -- 24 hour suspension from Animal Jam. She was in tears, scared and texted to me to come downstairs.

I assured her that there was no way she would be suspended for that and she sat with me as I sent an email to the support staff at Animal Jam. I received a response the next day, a Saturday. They assured me that they have moderators staffed 24/7. All reports are reviewed for validity and they are going to research the situation. Princess and I talked about what to do if this happens again. Now that she has had this experience, I think she will be calmer should she experience something like this again.

Fortunately, these sites make it relatively easy. Princess knows how to report, unfriend, and block other players. And of course, she knows to let me know when anything happens that she doesn't like. We talked about the situation again and she is feeling very confident about it now.

It may sound silly, but I am so grateful that I get to be her mom. I am so grateful that I am the one who is there to help her navigate this world. This is, hands down, the best job ever!

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