Do you know what this is? Maybe you should

This is Nilla, my six-year-old daughter's Moshi Monster. Looking a bit sad in this screen grab but that is all part of the story. If you have anything to do with primary aged children (teacher, parent, principal) then you really need to know some things about Moshi Monsters and the many similar virtual worlds currently engaging our kids.

We relentlessly write about rich, real, engaging, authentic and relevant 21st century learning on our school brochures, in charters, on strategic plans and even nice signage outside our schools. So where are the virtual worlds in our junior classrooms?

"Successfully nurturing a Moshi Monster is no mean feat. It takes a variety of skills that your child can develop over time. Your child will need to think creatively, hypothesize, strategize, manage resources, collaborate with friends, and nurture a wide variety of other skills that could extend positively into their everyday lives." Publicity from the site.

I have been watching my daughter's Moshi progress with interest. She grabbed a laptop and googled it after seeing an advert on TV. Since then she has kept Nilla alive and healthy. To do this she has had to do more maths, problem solving and all sorts of thinking, participating and contributing, managing-self and relating to others than than most junior school teachers would set and expect in the classroom. All done at a slightly higher level than most junior school teachers would set and expect in the classroom.

I'm not pushing this on our junior team at school, just wondering if any junior teachers anywhere are capitalising on this learning opportunity and wondering how it works out if we 'schoolify' it. E.g. getting around the usual lock-down, aversion schools have to things that sound like social networks or virtual worlds.

Sure, we have to put the black hat on and look out for the pervert pretending to be a child lurking on the message board section and I don't like the unspoken Moshi messages about shopping and consuming being good leisure activities. But if you are aware of the issues you can mitigate the risks. Kids might get run over by cars if we take them walking outside the school gates, but we still do it - with care. These issues have given me a perfect, in-context reason to give my daugther her first internet safety lessons. So even the risks can be turned into teachable moments.

Please share your experiences and opinions. All I ask is that you don't go down that po-faced comment pathway which is all about children shouldn't be inside staring at screens, messaging each other, they should be interacting with real kids and climbing trees because in my experience those that knock virtual worlds and social networks also think it is great when children spend lots of time reading. And reading is GREAT but it ain't social or cardiovascular exercise. Everything is good in moderation. You will also find lots of kids at our school up trees.

Engage me or enrage me - an important consideration for teachers of  five-year-olds and 16 year-olds.


  1. Hi Mike, and greetings from Monstro City!

    My name is Mags and I'm with Mind Candy, the parent company behind Moshi Monsters. It's great to see parents blogging about our product, and I thank you for your honest review from a parent perspective. I'm glad to hear your child is enjoying our product!

    You're absolutely right, Moshi Monsters is a great tool to engage children intellectually. We've received favorable reviews from teachers all over the world using Moshi Monsters in their classrooms, not only as an incentive for good behaviour but as a valuable learning tool. Moshi Monsters can fit well into a junior curriculum, and we always welcome teachers to integrate it into their lessons.

    Internet safety is a very valuable lesson, and one that we're quite passionate about. It's great to read about your using Moshi Monsters to educate your daughter about the dangers of the internet. Moshi Monsters boasts a great moderation team, and many safety features to prevent inappropriate contact within the game. This doesn't replace parental involvement, of course, and we welcome parents to play Moshi with their children to ensure their safety online. Many parents have their own Moshi Monsters and enjoy it as much, if not more, than their children!

    Anyway, thanks for your review! Remember that you can always contact us at with any questions you may have regarding our product or moderation policies.

  2. I relented and bought a subscription for my 2 boys - interestingly demand has waned, and they're now using it ocassionally rather than asking for it constantly! It has been a good chance to touch on internet safety, and overall seems like a fairly harmless way for them to chill out :)

  3. Hi Mike

    I am an early childhood educator and our practice is very much based on sociocultural theory. A highlighted point in this theory is that for children to learn well there needs to be links between the childs education setting and home. And that learning needs to be meaningful and valuable to children and stem from children's interests. If these are the type of things children are engaging with in their home settings- then yes I believe why not to some extent in schools as it is a reflection of childrens lives, their home and community and of course the wider world. These types of interactions for children are holistic and there needs to be recognition that much learning can be fostered here. For exaple literacy, numeracy,computer skills, problem solving,imagination and creativity, relationships are being fostered as children develop a common interest,it opens up opportunities for discussion and reflection, and of course fun! Pop culture is an increasing part of childrens everyday lives- we cannot not escape it, so therefore if it is meaningful to children and it provides motivation for learning (very important) then why not if it is integrated into the curriculum in a safe way and balanced way.