The internet knows no bounds and this applies to all users - adults and children alike. There are plenty of websites that are great for businesses or for adult use, but what about the offerings for kids? Just like toys, trends on the web change for kids, and what is hot now may be very different than what your child was playing just a few months ago.
One of the largest trends in online games is the huge number of role playing games. Children have the opportunity to plan scaled down versions of MMORPG classics like World of Warcraft and Star Wars. Kids develop a character and then take that character through a series of activities or missions. There are a large variety of these games for both girls and boys, with some overlap, but not much.
These games are actually rather good, assuming they are not playing anything too violent. The thinking and strategy involved in many of them is educational, and working with others in teams or guilds can help problem solving and build collaboration skills.
Coloring books are rather blase. The way to color in 2007 is online. Websites such as The Doll Palace offer many coloring pages created from the dolls available on the website and that have been uploaded by other users. These coloring pages range from simple application of predetermined colors to a more complex color palette that allows your little artist to be as creative and detailed as she would like. Once the coloring pages are complete, they can be saved, shared or printed out to be proudly displayed on the refrigerator.
Anime is another popular internet offering. Anime style cartoons and the accompanying manga is gaining popularity with children at a very rapid pace. Unfortunately, anime and manga are not yet entirely mainstreamed on television or in the bookstore (although they are getting that way.) Kids who enjoy reading the Japanese style cartoons or watching the Japanese style artwork can find plenty online. Parents should help screen the series their child is reading or watching as both anime and manga are very mainstream in Japan - including with adult audiences.
Games that involve no thought just shooting or the like still exist online, but kids of today appreciate a greater challenge. Games that involve thinking through problems or even math and science are becoming more popular. Creating roller coasters or complex lines that animated characters can ride are growing in popularity and the greater the challenge, the more the child is learning from their choice of entertainment.
With all things online, it is important for parents to sit down with their child to see what sort of websites they prefer to visit. While there may be questionable content on the internet, the online world as a whole is not a dangerous place. Just like anything else, parents must give their children the right amount of guidance and instruction to allow them room to grow and learn while keeping them safe.