Technology A-Z
The Internet
Tech Hardware
Tech Software
Video Games
Protecting Your Children
Getting Help
The Online Mom Network

Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?

The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Website of the Week: 2/4/2010


In the virtual world of social networking for tweens, there is Club Penguin, there is Webkinz – and then there is everything else.

Many start-ups have tried to join the market leaders – at the beginning of last year there were over 200 virtual worlds either on the web or in development – but very few have survived the fierce competition and the constant cash drain that comes with the territory.

One virtual world that is making a good run at the Big Two is Fantage, a relative newcomer that now boasts over 1.5 million unique monthly visitors.

Initial sign-up for Fantage is free, although to access many of the more enjoyable features of the site you will need a premium membership. More about that later.

When you first sign-up, you are asked to identify yourself as a boy or a girl. You then get an opportunity to customize a simple avatar. Next, you are asked for your age. In one of the many quirks of the site, Fantage gives you a choice of anything between 3 and 120 years old! I tried registering as a 117-year-old boy and Fantage was more than happy to accept me!

In fact, the whole registration process is a little mystifying. You are asked for a parent's e-mail, although there is no requirement for confirmation or verification before your registration is complete. You are also asked to select a Chat Mode. The Fantage Chat mode is only recommended for users aged 13 and older but no attempt is made to match that up to the age previously entered.

Once on the site, you will see your avatar riding on a "hover board", which can take you to any one of eight destinations in the "Fantastic Age". In each area, you will be able to play games or go on missions to earn Stars and Gems, which in turn can be used to shop for clothes, accessories or furniture for your home. You can also enter Fashion Shows, which are a big part of the experience and one of the reasons why Fantage appears to appeal more to girls than to boys.

On entering the Downtown or Uptown areas, you will be met by dozens of other avatars, representing the other kids that are currently logged on. This chaotic scene can be slightly alarming for parents but kids seem to love the feeling of milling-around in a crowd.

The social networking tools are basic but cleverly done. At any time, you can ask other avatars to be your buddies. You can also chat to everyone in your room or area. Here, Fantage displays more of its quirkiness. Chat is initially limited to premium members or anyone that has played on the site for more than an hour. Why Fantage uses this qualifying period they don't say, but it may have more to do with boosting their engagement stats than screening out any undesirables!

Once you have earned your chat privileges – and assuming you didn't select No Chat at registration – you can start typing away. Safe Chat mode allows you to select from a pre-determined list of basic sentences – like "Hello" or "How are you?" – while Fantage Chat allows more creative freedom.

In the parents section, Fantage makes much of its chat moderators and filters and they appear to work well. Most "bad" words are intercepted before being broadcast and suspensions of an hour are liberally handed down if you try to slip in something naughty.

As is usually the case with these virtual worlds for kids, you will find that your "free" membership doesn't get your child very far, so be prepared for those inevitable pleas for an upgrade. Memberships are right in line with Club Penguin at $5.99 per month, $29.99 for 6 months or $54.99 for a year.

All in all, Fantage provides a fun and creative environment for kids, with all the characters and chaos reminding you of your best days at the municipal playground. And despite some of the odd registration and chat rules, it appears safe and well-regulated.

And be sure check out previous Websites of the Week:

Baby Connect: 12/4/2009

Kickstarter: 9/15/2009

Drop.io: 9/8/2009

Kiva: 8/31/2009

View Website of the Week Archive

Permalink | Print | Email | Share

Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Special Twitter Event
Join @theonlinemom this Thursday at 9pm ET as we introduce Thrively, a fun and interactive family web site! #Thrively
[read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends this Friday at 12 noon PT as we look at Simplifying Mobile Tech. Great prizes! #VZWBuzz [read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle
[read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español! [read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
[read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
[read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
[read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
[read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
[read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
[read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Not Sure

© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL
As you may have guessed, it is made of titanium and some stainless steel¡ªthe case is titanium and the rolex replica sale is stainless steel. The dial is brown, the watch hands are silver-toned, and there is a date window at the four o¡¯clock position. The sapphire case protects the breitling replica sale from water damage up to 30 meters. Synergy means cooperative action. This replica watches uk combines the best of the old and the new to deliver something uniquely modern. All of the classic elements are there. It has the sleek and stylish dial of the replica watches uk, the concave dot at the 12 o¡¯clock hour, and the Swiss quartz movement. But the Sapphire Synergy has something few breitling replica sale offer, a rubber wristband. Why rubber? Well, it¡¯s not a sport rolex replica sale, so using it outdoors is out of the question. But the informal band gives it a more casual look and feel, which can be quite appealing to the modern male.