View Full Version : VMK Question
04-10-2006, 09:37 AM
Not sure if this belongs here, but I had a couple of questions regarding Disney's VMK...
My son and I just discovered this new "Virtual Magic Kingdom." Right now I'm logged on as him, just looking around *ahem* investigating *ahem*. I keep having girls "walking" up to me and asking me to be their "boyfriend." Is this normal? Has anyone experienced this? Is this "VMK" safe? I really don't like to idea of exposing him to chatting online so early (he's 9 this month)... Am I just overreacting? Is there some way of "turning off" the chat capability? Any ideas? :confused: :confused: :confused:
04-10-2006, 10:19 AM
This'll probably get moved (I believe there is a games forum) but it is sort of Disneyland related, imho, since it's so Disneyland-connected and promoted at Disneyland.
I have a 10-year-old who is hooked on VMK, but I watch her very carefully. I don't believe you can turn off the chat function, but if someone is being bothersome, you can click on their character and "ignore" them. Then you won't see any of their posts. That's probably not much of a help.
Players are very restricted in what they can say -- the chat function will not allow players to type numbers, for example. Many words are prohibited, including those that would allow a player to give out personal information. Unfortunately, players continually come up with alternatives to forbidden words, such as "tree" for "three." Some very creative (and annoying) players have even come up with alternative words for curse words. It's very clear what they are saying.
Although my daughter loves VMK and we've had a good time doing all of the in-park quests, I think it's unfortunate that Disneyland has been associated with this type of game. I was very surprised, for example, that the female characters have obvious chests. I realize with some VMK clothing you don't get...er..."them," but most little girls are going to choose the tank top with its two "accessories." I can't stand the number of people who come up to you and ask if you're "taken," "looking" or if you want a boy/girlfriend. I was creeped out by all of the "modeling" contests in which you're "in" or "out" based upon how you look.
I wish the game was somehow more like Disney's ToonTown game (to which my entire family is addicted -- LOL), with pre-selected chat phrases and the ability to buy additional phrases. However, even in that family-friendly game, players have figured out ingenious ways to communicate codes that allow them to make secret friends with strangers, with whom they can then chat freely.
I think VMK has an awesome look and great potential, but on a child-friendly scale, I'd give it a VERY low score. As I mentioned, I do let my daughter play, but I'm always looking over her shoulder. I think if your child is going to play anything that is online, you have to do that, because there is always a way around built-in safety features. (Heck, I suppose that's true even in the parks!) Hope that helps...
04-10-2006, 12:42 PM
Thank you SO much for the information! :) I'm glad to hear there are other concerned parents out there!
My son is a very smart little kid who, at the moment, is not interested in girls (thank GOODNESS)... I think today I will have a talk with him about what is appropriate and inappropriate on VMK. I think if it gets too out of hand, I'll have to say "No way, VMK..." :)
(It was just a bit creepy to me, too, that these "girls" have no idea who they're talking to... I'm a married Mom of two just investigating; who knows how many weirdo's there are out there... Yikes.:( )
04-10-2006, 07:02 PM
You can put in his profile or info screen that he's not looking for a girlfriend and that will stop the asking. I played it for a while and found it mostly harmless. After I put in my info that I was married, nobody asked me again about being my boyfriend. And as far as that goes, I think it mostly just means you walk around the park together and chatting.
They are also really very strict on the words you can us. I remember trying to type that I loved horses and discovering that love is not allowed. (I guess that way no one can say they love another player or whatever.) There were a few other words that I was surprised weren't allowed as well.
I think it will be fine for your son to play and as you are obviously looking out for him, I don't think you will have to much to worry about.
04-11-2006, 08:31 AM
VMK does have saftey features that most other online games do not have, even "kids" games. For example, the game is only open for a set number of hours per day. that means kids can only play between the hours of 10am and 1am. During the time that the game is open, it is 100% monitered duning that time.