This is a sponsored post from Mom it Forward & National Geographic Kids. We will receive payment for this blog post. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun, which allows us to share information about video games we think kids will enjoy.
Do your kids play online games? Do you worry about their safety playing online or chatting with ‘new’ friends online? Do you want a game that can be fun for them but is also nonviolent? Have they been asking you about National Geographic Kids’ Animal Jam but you’ve hesitated until you could learn more? We have that more for you now.
What is Animal Jam?
Animal Jam is an online game for kids where players can learn about the natural world and animals while playing with friends. It was developed to provide kids with educational fun both online and off, while also giving parents peace and mind about their children’s safety with built in safety tools.
In Animal Jam, kids can create one or multiple animals for their account, and customize their animal to look like something you would find in nature or their imagination. For example, one of my sons created a blue wolf with yellow lightening bolts on this skin and completely black eyes while another created a tiger with normal color skin and yellow stripes. Kids also decorate a den for their animals by adding accessories and furniture. These two features have been my kids’ favorite so far. Take a look at our Animal Jam video to see what else they had to say and learn more about the game.
National Geographic Animal Jam video ~ Details & Opinions from Jersey Family Fun boys
For now, my boys each have a free account. We’re getting familiar with that before we upgrade to one of the paid memberships available. As tigers and wolves, they have spent time traveling among the different areas of the world, virtually. While doing so they have earned gems by capturing predators and rescuing animals in distress. As kids earn gems they can purchase accessories for their animal or den as well as clothing for their animals. They have played carnival games and earned tickets as well. With their free memberships they can also become friends with others and chat, watch videos, or print out educational resources like coloring sheets and directions for science-based activities. If the buddy function is enabled they can form friendships online that allow players to trade items online and talk. All online chats are monitored for safely. (More about that below.) Players can also play games with anyone in the same area of them on the map. (Again, if that function is enabled.)
Here’s more about National Geographic Kid’s Animal Jam
What is the difference between a FREE Animal Jam account and a paid one?
- All players can play for FREE making new friends and earning gems. Everyone’s play is moderated 24/7 to make sure they are playing safe and that chat discussions are free from bullying or predatory behaviors. There is also no advertising other than a screen that shows up between some game play encouraging kids to become members.
- All kids can visit the Animal Jam Academy (http://academy.animaljam.com),where they can do educational activities online or download printable for offline learning and play. One free activity is available at a time in each area: science, art, tech, and video. Multiple activities are available with a paid membership.
- Animal Jam memberships are available for players who want access to additional animals, accessories, dens, and den items. Membership details are located here: https://animaljam.com/membership. Memberships are available at different price options $5.95 for monthly plans or lower monthly rates for longer plans. All include gem bonuses.
Setting up an Animal Jam account for your child is easy and can be done by visiting the Animal Jam website. To get an early look at the steps for doing so click here.
Two things to keep in mind, you will be asked to complete required information: including their birth date, gender, and age. If you are worried about revealing this kind of information for your kids, I understand. Over the years I have created a special ‘fake’ birthday for each of my kids and myself. I use it consistently in all games they play or online accounts they have. This way, it is still real in terms of their age, but fake in terms of anyone trying to impersonate them. You will also need to pick a username and password for each child. Your child will be reminded that it’s very important that he/she picks a username that DOES NOT include his/her name, age, where you live, or what school you go to! This is another area where you want to create a unique username for your child. Unique so it doesn’t reveal their true identity but also one that your child uses for all online accounts to it’s easier for them to remember.
Kids will need help from their parents to register. Kids never need their own email addresses to register. Parents will need to fill in THEIR email address. Make sure you use your parent’s email (not any the kids have) as Animal Jam will communicate with you about your account and the parent dashboard. (Click over to here to see the Animal Jam Parent Dashboard.)
Children also need to promise to agree to a set of rules that encourages friendly and safe behavior in order to play. Failure to follow the rules can result in an immediate stoppage of play and an account suspension.
Animal Jam ~ Safety measures to keep kids safe online
First, take a look at this short video from National Geographic Kids, as a parent, very nervous about letting my kids play online, I appreciate the measures that the Animal Jam developers are taking to keep kids safe.
- Parents can control their child’s chat settings, plus whether or not their kids can gift or trade items. (Click over to here to see the Animal Jam Parent Dashboard.) I love, love, love that all of my kids’ accounts can be managed from one parent dashboard. I don’t need to log into 3 separate accounts to control their settings.
- Parents can set chat ability to one of three options: bubble chat (kids can pick from a set of phrases to communicate, restricted wording is limited to text that is in their kid-safe dictionary, safe chat (only with paid memberships, kids can speak freely but are closely monitored by staff.))
- Parents can view their child’s discipline history and their login history.
- Animal Jam also regularly produces educational content for players and their parents about digital citizenship and online safety, helping players learn how to be safe online and Animal Jam uses parent feedback to develop those materials.
As a mom, I’m loving that we have finally found a game that makes us all happy. Through Animal Jam, my boys can chat online in a safe environment with new and old friends and even classmates from school who join. They can learn about their world, pretend and real, and the animals in it through active play (online and off) and videos. As time goes on I am sure we’ll consider the upgraded membership, but for now it’s nice to know they can get a lot of fun and learning through the free membership..
Want to learn more about Animal Jam? Click on over to their site.