In an ironic twist of fate, Fox's IGN Entertainment, a company known for its game reviews of products like Zombie Apocalypse just acquired What They Play. The newest member of Fox Interactive is touted as the "family guide to video games" and offers reviews, warnings and suggested products. Under the umbrella company of What They Like, What They Play uses the "Entertainment Software Rating Board" (ESRB) to warn parents of games containing explicit lyrics, cartoon violence and drug references.
In an age when gross-out sites like goatse are just a click away, a number of services offer parents the information they need to find quality online entertainment. While past generations were raised on unfiltered television and video games, today's parent take a more active role in the process of media consumption.
AOL's PlaySavvy: PlaySavvy is another site that offers parents a chance to check out age-appropriate kids games. Similar to What They Play, this site lists the ESRB ratings next to games and information is categorized by topic and gaming system. Products for console favorites like Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii are often featured on the site. AOL also offers parents daily articles and a section to view the most popular games.
Parents' Choice: Established in 1978, this site is run by the Parents' Choice Foundation - a nonprofit organization that offers awards to the top children's media and toys. Some of the award categories include websites, video games, DVDs, software, television programming and toys. This site definitely skews towards narrative-based educational materials. If your kid has a shorter attention span, you might want to visit PBS Kids instead.
Common Sense Media: Common Sense media is a nonprofit organizations dedicated to offering parents reviews and suggestions on appropriate content. The group produces movie, website, TV, game, book and music ratings as well as a number of educational tools for classroom use. The site can be personalized for kids between the ages of 2-17-years-old and it's available in English and Spanish. This site tends to weigh the benefits of mainstream media sites.
PBS Kids Play Island: This site offers parents reading resources, videos and games in English and Spanish. While the majority of the content is best queued up by a parent or teacher, the videos are particularly high quality and completely commercial free.
National Geographic for Kids: This site offers kid-friendly games, videos, stories and activities for nature lovers. The same photography that has made National Geographic a hit with grownups is likely to please kids. Not surprisingly, the video content is equally compelling. Discovery Kids offers a similar experience and is a great site for visual learners.
Totlol: Totlol is a parent-moderated version of YouTube. The site offers video options specifically designed for children and even offers "age optimized interfaces" to ensure that kids of different ages get the most appropriate content. In 2008, ReadWriteWeb covered Totlol's beta launch. As of today the site charges a $3 per month subscription fee or $54 until your child grows up.