Tulsa Kids Raise On-line Critters

Monday, December 19th 2005, 4:15 pm
By: News On 6

Are you a Neopian, with a Neopet? No? Well maybe your kids or grandkids are among the 25 million members worldwide.

It's been translated into 10 languages, and is one of the busiest websites on the Internet.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells decided it was high time he learned something about Neopets, so he went to Eliot Elementary for the basics.

I've never felt so out of my element. The 4th Graders at Eliot Elementary are avid Neopians.

That means they all have at least one Neopet they have pledged to care for and keep entertained.

"I currently have 35,604 Neopoints," says Tory Compton.

Neopoints is the currency used in the online land of Neopia. Are you with me so far?

Ashley Milanowski admits, "It has a lot of things to do; you never get bored."

In Neopia, you have the opportunity to adopt and care for a variety of species of Neopets.

You select it's color you feed it you play with it. By doing that, you earn Neopoints. You can spend the points to buy things, things to furnish your Neohome maybe.

You can earn extra points to spend by playing games on the website. The better you play the more you earn. You never really have anything in your hand; it's all virtual stuff in the computer.

As a grown-up and a parent I kept asking what they get out of it.

"So what is this teaching you? Is it teaching you anything?", I ask.

The kids answer, "I think it's teaching kids how to be responsible with money, and how to take care of pets."

That's a good thing. And like in the real world, if you neglect your Neopet, the Neopian version of the SPCA will come and take your Neopet away.

The girls told me their parents all control the time they spend of the website, and the site has some built in control like a proprietary language filter to blockout profanity.

There a plenty of product plugs and placements sprinkled in to pay for it all.