As any parent of a child knows, children are substituting traditional dolls with their small clothing for computer generated virtual dolls. It’s only natural; just think for a moment that for them, computers, laptops, internet, control remotes, and USBs have always existed. Plastic and fabric are materials that “we”, the grown ups used to play with in the Stone Age. If you have spent time with your child while he or she uses the computer, you will be able to see that these virtual dolls are found very easily on several websites. And yes, they can be dressed as the player wishes, and most of all, they’re free. You can forget about buying a new doll just because it has a hat that’s a different color from the one your little girl’s doll already has. That’s not bad news for your wallet, is it?
Are these virtual dolls difficult to use? Not at all, all you need is a computer and a decent internet connection. And, if you have children of any age, I’m sure you have those already. Most of all, forget about taking care of the plastic dolls, the little clothes, the little shoes and hats and accessories. There won’t be any dolls on the floor to pick up after playing and no need to toss away a $25 doll because the dog decided to play with it too.
If you are a responsible father, you must be wondering if these virtual dolls are proper and adequate for your kid. They actually are. Just like you did with color blocks and color crayons when you were a small child, your child will be playing and experimenting with colors, patterns, and forms. Your kid will also be flexing her imagination, style and fashion sense. It can actually be a fun, and artistic leisure time. As with any computer, video game or TV show, you should supervise your child’s playtime, but this will give you the opportunity to interact with her and encourage her creativity, as well as to build up her self esteem. He or she might even tell you they would like to be a stylist, fashion designer, or even a computer programmer so that they can design his or her own virtual dolls, clothes or accessories.
Some people think that these dress-up games are frivolous and superfluous, with all the pretty clothing, fashion and style tone to them. This is not true. They are just being the virtual age equivalent of Barbie and other similar dolls, which you or your sisters or cousins used to play with when you were children. Besides, clothing and grooming are high aesthetic values in society, specially for women.
On the other hand, would you prefer a game that’s about killing and shooting, full of blood and gore? There’s enough violence on movies and TV as it is, and no need to further expose your child. At least dress-up games are creative, imaginative and aesthetic. You will also prefer to have your child sitting in the next room with the computer rather than exposing him or her to dangers on the street.
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Evgheny Stivenson, developer of numerous dressing up games
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