Planet Cazmo is a virtual world for children launched in November 2007. The site began as a one-year trial site until the official launch in December 2008. The site targets children ages 8 to 14. The world exists on a strange planet where players meet with each other, play games and generally find much more freedom than they do in their normal lives.
The wide appeal of the planet Cazmo is the social interaction between members. Membership starts at $ 5.95 for one month; $ 29.95 for six months; and $ 54.95 for 12 months. There is free membership for children; however, their movement within the virtual world is limited. Members have access to exclusive parts of Planet Cazmo and can access goods and services by acquiring the virtual world currency. Players earn this money by successfully winning public games, completing quests and conducting surveys.
Members create an avatar to use as their default character. This avatar can be customized to look any way the member wants – glasses, hair, eyes, clothes and accessories can all be customized. In order to stay properly in this virtual world, players must earn money (known as Cazmo Coins) to pay for their lives. Although all players automatically earn a monthly bonus, they can also earn extra money by playing space-related games and successfully completing quests. Once players become members, they can get their own house and also become pets owners. Members simply buy an egg and wait for it to hatch. Players can also earn the right to buy a spacecraft to travel in space or buy a car. Car owners automatically receive a driver's license. Players can also get a cell phone and text other members.
There is a hierarchy between players based on the amount of time it took on Planet Cazmo. Each portrait wears a badge that you specify as new or experienced. Members who have long worked with Planet Cazmo have the opportunity to become ambassadors (people who work as big brothers or sisters and help supervisors in chat rooms). Like many other MMORPG websites, Planet Cazmo allows you to chat and interact with other players. Making friends, sending messages and chatting in social chat rooms is the power of this virtual world. Cazmo concerts are one of the unique aspects of Planet Cazmo. These concerts feature real recording artist music and corresponding avatars. Members go to concerts as a group, listen to music and watch the musician's avatar perform on stage.
what is good
Planet Cazmo is a social site that primarily appeal to boys and girls interested in making friends online. Players learn to mingle and talk to each other using appropriate manners, and respect each other in the process. There are no adult themes in the games or on the website. There is no violence, drinking, smoking, drug use, sex or abusive language.
What is bad
Planet Cazmo is a social chat room – period. Younger children and out of the demographic group will find chat rooms packed with teens and feel like they are out of place. They may like the graphics and games, but the main function (chat) will be outside their patrol. Younger members may not understand the concept of ignoring others, bans, ridicule and other harmful acts.
Although the design and graphics are well done, some older teens may find them a bit juvenile. Online games, quizzes, and surveys seem to be geared only to attract more children to the website. There is no educational value for this site. Games are not stimulating, nor are they beneficial to the child's development.
Planet Cazmo's chat feature must be responsible for inappropriate language and content making their way into open chat areas. The website provides a secure chat mode where only children can use predefined phrases, images, and icons. Open chat is a little more challenging; however, it will help more administrators dealing with hooligans. It is also useful for ambassadors to have more power to deal with problems. Parents need to be cautious about their children's online activity and report any messages or situations that are inappropriate for administrators.