Pixie Hollow – Virtual Worlds for Girls

Pixie Hollow is a massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) aimed at girls from age 6 to 13. Tinker Bell is the guide and mascot of this online game that was developed by Disney. The game is website-based – there is no need to download any files. The only major requirements are that users have Adobe Flash Player, 512MB of RAM and a broadband internet connection.

The design and graphics are done in typical quality Disney fashion – clean, clear, well-defined and with depth. Pixie Hollow is free to join; however, in order for players to experience the full features of the website, a paid membership is required. A monthly membership is $5.95; six months is $29.95; and an annual membership is $57.95. Membership cards can also be bought in person through major toy stores. A full membership allows players to play all the games featured on the website and add accessories to their online life.

Features

Every member who joins Pixie Hollow gets to choose a fairy that will be their virtual personality. In the beginning, members were only able to choose fairies. Currently, there is also a male version of a fairy called a Sparrow Man. A paid membership allows players to shop; obtain a larger virtual home; obtain clothing; play all games on the website (including all quests and adventures); have a pet; and create their own crafts.

What’s Good

Pixie Hollow will appeal mainly to girls under 10 years of age who are interested in the world of fantasy and make believe. The graphics are exceptionally clean and clear with depth and detail, much like Disney’s cartoons and films. There is no violence, drinking, drugs or smoking on the website or in the flash games. Pixie Hollow encourages its members to engage in creativity and imagination by submitting original material and losing themselves in a fantasy world of magic and fun.

What’s Bad

Like many other children’s virtual worlds, Pixie Hollow is divided into two different categories: fun and fantasy for younger children; and risqué chat for tweens and teens. Younger members who are attracted to the Disney themes of innocence and fantasy won’t find much in common with those older members who are more into socializing. Pixie Hollow does have chat filters in place, but they have to realize that members will constantly get around these filters and type in words that look and sound inappropriate – even if the filters don’t catch them. It’s great that members can chat to one another, but if it’s not regulated with force, it brings down the credibility of the entire website.

Online Safety

Even though Pixie Hollow claims that they have strict guidelines for appropriate behavior, they have to understand that certain members will break the rules. Opening up chat so that members can type in suggestive language doesn’t seem like a Disney thing to do. Sure, members will be punished for doing this, but it shouldn’t have been committed in the first place. Pixie Hollow has no control over who joins their website; however, they do have control over what members say. In this regard, Pixie Hollow is not doing a good job and needs to be more vigilant.