Yoursphere’s goal, as you’ve read or heard me say many times, is to put your child’s online safety first and to provide an age and content appropriate online experience. With all the wonderful benefits the Internet has to offer, our goal is to leverage them all, to your child’s benefit.
As a result, Yoursphere offers children the best of the Internet: educational content, ability to support their digital literacy and participation through sharing of photos and videos, and the creation of their own web sites or “spheres” based on their unique interests, blogging, creative writing programs, social interaction, exploring new interests, offering scholarships, engaging kids in supporting philanthropies, educating them about online safety, and both teaching and practicing good online citizenship.
A missing component—that I knew our members would love—was a virtual world where they could engage in real-time with their friends on Yoursphere. That’s why I am very excited to introduce you to Yoursphere’s newly implemented feature exclusively for our members: a virtual world aptly named ourWorld.
Because our children’s safety comes first at Yoursphere, we’ve made ourWorld a closed-off virtual community where only Yoursphere verified members can interact with each other. The best thing about ourWorld is that it’s built on the same foundation of Yoursphere’s—meaning ourWorld offers Yoursphere kids a ton of things to do while at the same time staying age-appropriate and fun.
Among all the great things to do in ourWorld: there are dozens of games to play, contests to enter, condos to decorate, friends to make, jobs to apply for, movies to watch, clothes to buy and so much more. It’s an engaging experience that supports the creativeness of our children. And like Yoursphere, there is no advertising.
These are all the other areas that can be unlocked in ourWorld. The Boardwalk with an arcade, a pier with a rollercoaster, and SOHO where the salon and fashion show are located.
Within Yoursphere’s ourWorld, there are two different types of currency: Flow and Gems. Every Yoursphere member will start out with some complementary Flow and Gems allowing them to jump right in and build their avatar.
Kids can earn more Flow in several ways: playing games, entering contests, making friends, giving gifts, or decorating their condo. By earning more Flow, kids unlock new gestures, new items and eventually unlock new areas in ourWorld that have more games and things to do.
Gems, the more valuable currency, are not necessary to participate, but if desired have to be purchased by the parent or have to be given to the child by one of their friends in ourWorld. A trip to the grocery store, online or at a 7-11 store is where you can find Gems. Gems serve multiple purposes. For example, kids can use Gems to buy new clothes for their avatar and furniture for their condo.
Here’s a glimpse of what a condo could look like:
And here’s a completely different one—this one’s jungle themed! The kids have had a great time decorating, designing and trying out new creative ideas they have. It’s fun to sit over my children’s shoulder and watch as they laugh out loud, and race each other to see who gets voted for the most interesting condo. My 11-year-old was super excited about a snail table he made. Yes, snails : )
These are some of the shops kids can visit to purchase stuff for their avatar or condo.
Avatars are fully customizable, everything from skin color to hair style. My younger son has tried on a multitude of outfits and skin colors. He loves his pink Mohawk at the moment. Yesterday it was orange.
My daughter is complaining that she needs new hair, but hasn’t figured out how to get to the SOHO salon just yet. It’s funny seeing her get help from her younger brothers. What I’ve loved is they’ve given up their hour of TV time to play in ourWorld.
There are tons of games to play, stores to shop at and places to visit.
As members play and participate, they earn Flow. As they earn Flow, they level up, this allows them to access more content within ourWorld. Earning Flow does not require hours in the community in case you were wondering. It requires participation, not “time online”. Participation can be as simple as playing a game. Here’s how the Flow and leveling up system works.
This is one way to use Flow in order to win cool gear for their avatar, or coins to buy stuff with.
Among other cool and fun activities, Yoursphere members can get a job in ourWorld, watch movies with friends in the theatre, or go skating at the skating rink. The music and movies are age appropriate.
As a member plays more games, enters (and hopefully wins) more contests, they gain new abilities like gift giving and honorary ourWorld badges to show off.
Parents, this virtual world is a free feature that comes with a Yoursphere membership. I encourage you to sit with your kids and see what ourWorld is all about. We want you to be comfortable with the experience we are providing your children. I am. Like any new feature, there’s a bit of a learning curve. I helped when I could, but my 9 and 11-year-old figured it out….better than their 16-year-old sister. Like with me, the fun and creativity I saw my kids engaged in put a smile on my face. I hope it does for you, too.