The Virtual Pets Craze


by Hal Storm

Historically, your choice of pets pretty much came down to dogs, cats, hamsters or something similar. In the digital age, virtual pets are all the rage.

Kids love pets. There are many situations where a pet could be a wonderful addition to your family. Unfortunately, there are many situations where adding a pet to your family would not be a good idea at all. The good news is that there are many free online virtual pets for your children to play. Kids can have fun naming and taking caring of their pet. You will not have to deal with dog hair on your business suit and cat scratches on your leather sofa. Virtual pets can be a win-win situation for you and children.

There are two main types of virtual pets. The first is one that “lives” on a website. In order to take care of the pet, your child must be online. They will register a user name and password. Each time they log back into the site, they will find their pet where they left him. Virtual pets can be fed, played with, taught tricks, and sent to bed. There are all sorts of virtual pets. You can raise a dog or cat as well as an alien or monster. Pet owners can earn points which can be spent at a virtual store.

There are a few things to look out for when dealing with online virtual pet websites. First, some sites are free, but only for a trial period. Sometimes items for your virtual pet can cost actual money. Make sure you know the terms of the site before signing up. Don’t allow your child to input any personal information. Some sites will ask for first and last name, address, birth date, or telephone number. Instruct your children to never give out this information without your permission. There are plenty of sites that do not require any personal information which are probably better choices.

There are also some virtual pet sites that are not appropriate for children. Before turning your kids loose, spend a few minutes checking out the site. One thing to check for is the ability to contact other players. If there is a chat or email function, discuss your rules with your children before logging in.

The other type of online virtual pet is one that you download from the internet onto your computer. There are some advantages to this. First, you will not need to be connected to the internet in order to play. There are no chat features. Once downloaded, the virtual pet becomes like any other computer game. Just like with any other download, you need to ensure that you have a virus protection program running. Either type of online virtual pet can bring a lot of enjoyment to your child while keeping your home free of pet hair and chewed slippers.

Hal Storm is with – your free resource for local pet stores, services and pet information.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).

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