The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks is an online game -- a virtual world -- based on books by John Bittleston.We were asked to review the site as part of the TOS Crew. My son loved W&W, which surprised me. When I saw the interface, I thought it might be too kiddie (my word) for him, especially given his love of complex games, but this site is actually deceptively complex. The exploration aspects and the hunt for historical figures enthralled him immediately. There is an educational aspect to the context of the game, but we just considered it fun.
On the very positive side, my son did recognize historical figures and would shout out to me about the context of the person’s role in history. That’s always OK in my book. He is on the upper level of the age 7 – 14 target audience of this site, so playing W&W may spawn a list of history questions from wee littles. (That’s a good thing!)
Because I knew other homeschoolers would also be reviewing this site as part of the TOS Crew, we exchanged user names with several of them, giving my son instant playmates in the virtual world. He was not allowed to interact with others that I had not approved. It is my understanding that the makers of W&W are working on improving chat features. Currently, I would recommend the use of this product under direct parental supervision and even so, parents should consider the age and maturity of their child before allowing them to sign on. I would also recommend that you read about the experiences of others on the site. W&W states that vulgarities are not allowed, but it appears that they are not filtered out. Players who violate this are either blocked by moderators or reported by others after the fact. As they say, it’s better to close the barn door than to try and get the cows back in (or something like that… I live in suburbia so I fail at the colloquialisms).
Until the chat feature is filtered or otherwise made to be more child-friendly, I believe removing it would only enhance the playing experience for children. Because I feel strongly about Internet safety, this is my son’s first experience with a virtual world. Maybe other sites also have similar problems with profanity, but I simply don’t know the answer to that. You must judge your child’s maturity and your level of comfort with this. As much as I my son has enjoyed it, he won’t be allowed to use it without direct supervision. If you can work this out to your comfort level, the site is a lot of fun.
WW is a product of Wiglington and Wenks Worldwide Pte Ltd (http://www.wiglingtonworldwide.com). Use of the site is free. A paid membership is available which opens up more of the world and provides greater interactivity. Memberships are $5.99 per month, with discounts available for longer terms.
We were given a one-month membership to the site. My opinions are my own.