PDA

View Full Version : Clever Dragons/Always Icecream



jess
03-28-2012, 05:02 PM
Do any of your kids use Clever Dragons (http://www.clever-dragons.com/) or Always Icecream (http://always-icecream.com/)? They're a set of social networking/game sites for kids. We signed the kids up the other day.

The educational content seems worth the cost. They have optional Christian content (Bible quiz games and so forth) which can be turned off, the whole site has a bit of a conservative vibe, and there's a lot of emphasis on traditional gender roles (the girls have games focused on "life skills" such as cooking and babysitting, and the boys don't). Nothing I personally find unworkable in the context of our family, but I can see it being problematic for some.

Anyways, DS desperately wants to have some "friends" on there. If any of your kids use it, would they be willing to add him? (DD is on AI, but doesn't seem too into the social aspect, though I imagine she'll want to get friends if DS does.)

VenerableVixen
03-29-2012, 01:36 PM
My son subscribes to cleverdragons and really enjoys making friends. He would add your son. How do we find you? His name is castle "crasher"

jess
04-02-2012, 02:43 PM
My son subscribes to cleverdragons and really enjoys making friends. He would add your son. How do we find you? His name is castle "crasher"
I tracked him down and added him :) My son's name starts with L.

VenerableVixen
04-03-2012, 02:36 PM
Cool! My son has been buggin' me! He likes getting new friends! I will have him look for your son.

rrlumin
04-13-2014, 02:07 PM
I was glad to find this post. I have been looking for reviews and such for this all day. I am very leery of the conservative/christian vibe. I will do some more reading and see what else I can find out. My lad is only 5 and I don't think he'll quite get the social aspect just yet, but I can see who that would be really appealing later. I thought the price was really great for a year.

BakedAk
04-13-2014, 02:53 PM
It took longer than I thought it would for my kiddos to get bored on AI and CD, but it happened. Two months. They were able to completely avoid the Bible-related quizzes, but many of the kid-designed items for "sale" in the virtual shops say things like "My Lifeguard walks on water!" Both made a bunch of "friends" but didn't actually talk/write to them at all.

farrarwilliams
04-13-2014, 07:34 PM
The gender segregation aspect has always turned me off. What is the educational content?

Kithanye
01-13-2015, 01:56 PM
I would like to see some more activity on this thread. I am looking into myself, but I'm a: really turned off by the gender stereotypes, and b: worried about the religious feel of it. Does anyone with more experience on the site have anything to say to ease/confirm my worries? I would be incredibly grateful because the program looks really good otherwise. Thanks!!

jess
01-13-2015, 10:06 PM
I'll update, since it's been a few years and there have been a lot of mostly positive changes.

The content is a lot less gendered now. Obviously, it's still gender-segregated, but they've changed it so that both the boy and girl sites have more of the same medieval fantasy theme. They still have the weird cooking/babysitting-themed games only on the girls side, but they've added so much other academic content since I first posted that those few games are easily lost in the shuffle, and not as prominent as they used to be. Like, it's 3 games out of 200, not 3 games out of 20.

I wouldn't say there's a huge religious feel. There are religious games (currently several Christian, and one Jewish). Parents can disable religious games (or any other category of game, if you happen to be against, say, Spelling for some reason). The "Biblical Studies" area on the map, which leads to these games, shows up for everyone, regardless of whether you enable these games or not. But if you disable them, the games themselves won't show up. I couldn't say whether this is purposeful or lazy coding. Religious content from members is present, but not overwhelming. Overall, there is much more secular content than religious, both in terms of games and social/community content.

I feel a lot more comfortable recommending it now than I did when this thread first started.

crunchynerd
02-21-2015, 07:42 AM
We have a lifetime membership for our daughter, and one for our older son. Had I had a crystal ball I would have gone for the family lifetime membership with up to 4 kid accounts, because when that goes on sale, it's the same as just the two lifetime memberships, and we have 2 more kids who will be growing into it in coming years.

We've seen a lot of changes since we first joined, too, for the better.
And we don't mind at all that it's gendered, because my kids absolutely love that aspect. At 10, my daughter has mostly outgrown it, but it did give her an education in an unexpected way: she learned a realistic perspective on social media, safely.

She went through the entire Facebook learning curve, without having a Facebook account: she got drawn in, felt the desire to have a lot of "Friends" and be interacted with on the message board, and then she started noticing that she was liking the other girls a lot less as time went by, because their posts seemed to fall into certain categories, which were either moaning and complaining, bragging, or having something to say back to EVERYONE else in a bid to be the most popular.

We talked about it, and dissected the situation. Turns out, the other girls "bragging" would, if shared excitedly in person, just be sharing excitement over something good, or happy news, with a friend. Their "complaining" would, face to face, be sharing burdens that friends share, and probably elicit hugs and support. Their nonstop chatter about trivia? Face to face, that's just called being friends, having a conversation. It doesn't have to be solving the world's problems, being philosophers, etc. Usually when friends chat, it's not about a whole lot, and they can't tell you what all was said, but they have fun doing it.

So the biggest problem is that online social media takes normal social exchanges and flattens them out, removes the immediate personal touch, and without that, everything comes out seeming worse than it does in person. It also removes the positive reinforcement of eye contact and smiles, etc so that the person behind the screen tends to feel more vulnerable to every negative interpretation, and feel less secure that others actually like them.

The academics are watery at best on Always Ice Cream/Clever Dragons, and consist of little multiple choice quizzes. Harmless fun if you enjoy it, but not exactly something that teaches. Good for review and drill, on things like multiplication and division, nice little touch-typing tutor. Worth it for the pleasant fun, the little avatars and mini-world, the little games and vetted YouTube content, and learning about the nature of social media and how to view it with more mature perspective before setting foot in Facebook is a huge bonus.

My son likes Clever Dragons okay, but mostly just wants to play this one shooter/arcade Dragon game. I think my younger son would like Clever Dragons much more than his older brother does. They have such different personalities.

I agree that the cooking/babysitting games on the girls' site would probably offend some people's sensibilities, and I understand why, and agree to an extent, but if you notice how popular cooking/babysitting (or pet-sitting as a more politically correct proxy for it) games are in the gaming world at large, with girls who have the entire game store full of mostly male-centric games, to choose from, it's not something Always IceCream invented.