A few weeks ago we were asked if we would like to review Disney’s Club Penguin. When we were asked I was quite excited. I thought Amelie would love playing their world cup series. We have until now never really allowed Amelie to have access to the computers to play games. She uses the ipad & our iphones but this is mainly to look at photos and the occassional youtube video or app that we have installed for her. Any time spent on the ipad is supervised to a degree by us. Suddenly I am aware that she is much more able technically than I gave her credit for.
I set aside some time on a Sunday morning to sit down with her and log into Disney’s Club Penguin. I was not sure what to expect when I initially logged in but Amelie took to it straight away. Once we had set up her “Pink” penguin (we had to spend quite a bit of time deliberating over a name as our top choices had already been taken) she was quite happy to click her way around the site. She spent ages talking to herself and laughing about this and that. She kept calling me so that she could show me what her penguin could do. We did eventually work out how to play football and she spent a considerable amount of time trying to make her penguin kick the ball.
There is lots to hold a child’s imagination, penguins can chat with one another and make friends, they can change outfits and create their own igloos. In conjunction with the online access we also received a copy of the Disney Club Penguin Magazine which gave Amelie lots of opportunities for you to extend the online experience.
Amelie said “I liked taking the penguin to different places and taking it for a swim, there two swimming pools. I liked it when it got all sweaty.” (She took her penguin on the tread mill in the gym; when he got all sweaty he got covered in little bubbles)
I did find it slightly frustrating. I struggled to work out what was going on but none of this seemed to bother Amelie. Tonight before bed she asked if she could play her penguin game. During the month’s trial she has become quite adapt at navigating her way around.
With online security and safety at the forefront of my mind I was slightly nervous about Amelie having access to the internet. However the one thing that impressed me most about Disney Club Penguin was their approach and attitude towards online safety. Throughout the platform there are lots of reminders and interactive ways in which both children and parents can recap their online safety knowledge. Penguins can take a safety quiz to gain prizes and you are actively encouraged to report anything suspicious. There are lots of tips and advice for both parents and children. Off the back of reading some of their tips I suddenly realised that the ipad did not have any safety filters – needless to say they have now been added. I felt reassured by their safety policies and advice and felt comfortable allowing Amelie to spend time on Disney Club Penguin.