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Virtual Worlds for Boys

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There are a number of websites out there that are enjoyed equally by boys and girls. And, there are some that are specifically for girls. But what about the boys? These virtual worlds for boys have a little extra "guy appeal," although they are open to girls as well.

Ridemakerz.com

Ridemakerz is designed as a virtual world for boys, although girls are welcome, too. It allows players to build a custom car to drive around. As kids play games on the site, they earn experience points, which allow them to "level up" and gain access to more advanced customizations. They also earn in-game currency which allows them to purchase new customizations for their cars and clothes for their avatar.

Recommended ages: 6-14

Cost: Free

Other: Ridemakerz.com is the virtual realization of a real-world shop of the same name. Kids can build cars in the shop and use them as avatars on the site, or they can design their avatars and purchase kits to build them in the real world.

Free Realms

Free Realms is a virtual world where kids can take on human or pixie form. They can earn skill and money by practicing a trade, taking on quests from other players and playing games. From virtual pets to magic spells, there is a little something for everyone here.

Recommended ages: 10+

Cost: Free with paid option

Other: The 10+ rating is due to some cartoon violence and crude humor.

Action AllStars.com

Action AllStars is a virtual world just for sports fans. Play a variety of games inspired by baseball, football, surfing, basketball and more. The site is partnered with the MLB and NBA so one highlight is the ability to use actual team uniforms.

Recommended ages: 6-14

Cost: Free with paid option

Other: Although you can technically play for free, some of the big features aren't accessible without a paid account. Namely, you can't buy anything (uniforms, accessories, etc.) and you can't design your "Home Turf." There is a lot of pressure to upgrade to a paid account.

SeaPals World

SeaPals World combines fun with educational content in one of the more unique virtual worlds for kids. Similar to Webkinz, SeaPals requires the purchase of a plush SeaPals pet. Once kids are signed in on the site, they can maintain theirs virtual aquarium, decorate their rooms or set out to chat and play games with others. Along the way, they'll learn plenty about the ocean and the creatures who live there.

Recommended ages: 5-12

Cost: Membership comes with the purchase of a SeaPals pet (MSRP $14.99)

Other: SeaPals has a canned chat, so kids can choose from pre-selected phrases.

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Don your best eye patch and set sail for a pirate adventure. This virtual world is inspired by the Disneyland/DisneyWorld rides and popular movies of the same name. Create your own pirate personality, captain a ship, search for treasure and engage in combat. There are quests, games and islands to explore. Membership opens up more features, plus priority access when servers are crowded.

Recommended ages: 10+

Cost: Free to play. Membership with additional benefits ranges from $9.95 for one month to $79.95 for a year.

Other: Pirates of the Carribean Online is rated E10 (ages 10+). Parents should note that the game has some mild violence, as well as the use of voodoo.

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