Childhood Online Games Resurfacing During Quarantine


Due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, online games like Club Penguin and Animal Jam have drawn in millions of new players due to boredom with promotions and free memberships. Club Penguin Online has recently just passed six million players on their servers.

Games like Club Penguin and Animal Jam are played mostly by children, but because of the global crisis, teens are finding creative ways to cure their boredom with video games. Both games specialize in educating children with fun online games and social interactions. Animal Jam has players discover and learn various facts about zoology while Club Penguin teaches that it’s more than okay to be different with endless possibilities in this virtual world.  

“Animal Jam is a fun little game to just pass time at home,” sophomore Olivia Drucker said. “I used to always play it when I was little so it’s fun to reminisce in those old times. I still have all my account info saved so I am able to access everything I used to have if I wanted to go on it during the quarantine. It’s cool that everyone can be a member for free on Club Penguin but for Animal Jam you still have to pay.”

Games like Animal Jam and Club Penguin allow teens to relive their childhood while doing something fun. However, the membership for Animal Jam still costs money during quarantine, unlike Club Penguin where they gave everyone a free membership during this time. Having a membership when playing these games allows the player to unlock certain features they couldn’t without a membership.    

“My favorite things to do on Animal Jam are the challenges because they take a lot of time and they tell the story of Animal Jam,” Drucker said. “Once you’ve been on Animal Jam for a while you kinda figure everything out and it can become boring. Challenges can also be played with a group of people so you can work together with your friends to win prizes and get a higher ranking in the game.” 

The ability to play these games with friends appeals to many students. Friends can visit each other’s dens or igloos and they can even play games together. Friends take advantage of these games to pass time and hang out together while still social distancing. Both Animal Jam and Club Penguin allow players to let their creative side free with house customization as well as what their animal is wearing. 

“On Club Penguin, you can customize your penguin with different outfits and design your igloo,” sophomore Wendy Maddox said. “In order to do so, you can get coins from playing games like ‘Smoothie Smash’ and ‘Cart surfer.’ Another cool thing on club penguin is that you can communicate with other penguins.”

Club Penguin and Animal Jam are very much alike when it comes to the concept. Both allow players to have a house in the game, they can dress their character, they can earn coins through playing games and the list goes on. The main difference between the games is Club Penguin allows players to go on different servers which makes it easier to control how many people are on the game at once. When it comes to online games, safety is always an issue for parents because they want to make sure their child is making the right choices on the internet.  

“I think Animal Jam is probably one of the safest online games for kids because it restricts almost everything,” Drucker said. “There are certain words you can’t say and it will block other players’ texts if they imply something inappropriate. There are also certain regulations that you have to go through to play. A lot of information gets sent to the email linked to the account keeping the player or the players’ parent updated on what goes on. It can be less fun for older players but it is very safe for young children and protective parents.” 

Internet safety is something children are taught from a young age, and playing a game like this where they can interact with other people from around the world can be a scary concept for parents to wrap their heads around. Both games, Animal Jam and Club Penguin, make sure that their platforms are safe by creating rules and blocking inappropriate content.   

“The site itself is safe, but the people on there are not safe,” Maddox said. “You never know who is hiding behind their computer screen with a certain penguin, asking for your social media or other personal information. But if you play safely and do not give any of your information away, then you will be safe.”

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