I think it’s fitting that I came across this right after we were talking about the dramatic increase in children’s toys/ entertainment having an online component. It’s like I’m psychic, or something! Except not really.
Anyway, it turns out that Hasbro has recently launched a couple of interactive websites for kids, Monkeybar TV and Monkeybar TV Jr. Both sites allow kids to play games online; the main site also links off to videos (most often commercials, it seems) which you can view.
The “junior” site is geared towards preschoolers “and their parents,” which, thank goodness, because heaven knows that four-year-olds need to spend more time online, and why go visit PBSKids.org or Discovery Kids when you could take your small child online somewhere that they’ll surely end up begging you to buy something?
Look, there’s no denying that this is a brilliant marketing move on Hasbro’s part. The market for this sort of thing is hot right now, and giving today’s ‘net-savvy kids yet another avenue to worship various brands is only going to increase Hasbro’s sales.
On the other hand, with so many places for kids to get online and play, already, can Hasbro step in and claim the attention of these kids?
Viv from Cool Moms Rule says yes:
I thoroughly enjoyed all the activities I tried out over at MonkeyBarTV.com, and there were lots more I could have selected.
In addition to the free games and videos, there are contests and tournaments (some of which require registration) and—of course—plenty of links to the Hasbro store where you can find any and all of the associated products you simply must have, Moooooom, please please please.
The few games I looked at seemed like they would be fun, but the site as a whole seemed oddly familiar until I pulled it up side by side with the Cartoon Network home page. (Oh well; you know, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)
If you see some brand lines on the Hasbro site that your child really loves, and you feel like he or she can enjoy the games without succumbing to the not-so-subliminal message of “buy more stuff,” then you might want to check Monkeybar TV out. Otherwise, you may just want to stick to the kid-friendly sites you already know and love.