MovieStarPlanet is a free social interactive fantasy website created for children aged between 8 and 15 years old. Children get to choose from a variety of movie star characters, dress them up, choose their hairstyles, make movies, play games and chat.
The point of the game is to earn fame and fortune by social interacting, making movies and watching other people’s movies. In doing so you can earn Fame Points and Star Coins which can be used to buy more costumes, backdrops for your movies, animations, home decor, etc. Players can also exchange gifts, collect autographs and trade items.
The more competitions you enter, games you play, friends you have and interactions you make, the more rewards you are given and as you progress you can go higher up the levels which allows you to have more character animations and other additions.
MovieStarPlanet VIP Account
The VIP account is available to buy at £49.99 for one year and in return users get 350 diamonds and 50,000 Star Coins. The VIP account also allows you to access additional games, have private chats, get movie additions and animations and fast-track your way to fame and fortune.
In addition StarCoins can be bought via credit card or phone.
Is MovieStarPlanet Safe?
Well the company behind the game would have you think so. On the parent page the company states that they do their utmost to ensure the game is safe and secure
They have clear rules such as not giving away personal information or using inappropriate or abusive language and say that those who break the rules will be locked out of the game either temporarily or permanently. Profiles can also be deleted and IP addresses blocked.
In the parent section they do their best to convince parents of the safety of the game and encourage parents to talk to their children about internet safety. They say that usage is monitored both manually and by automated systems and that filters blacklist certain words. Moderators review all reports which are filed and are continually monitoring the site for inappropriate use.
MovieStar Planet Security and Concerns
You cannot get a website that is designed for children without there being some concerns and certainly MovieStarPlanet has its fair share.
The site has been discussed on both Netmums and Mumsnet, http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/a1419378-Movie-Star-Planet popular parenting sites, where parents have voiced concerns over the website, citing examples of children being sent inappropriate messages, accounts being hacked and children warned for reporting others. Parents also questioned the website’s rewards for befriending strangers and options that allow players to be boyfriend or girlfriend.
To investigate further I set up a free account. I was not asked for an email address or prompted to tell an adult what I was doing. Within minutes I had created a character and was able to participate in chatrooms, some of which are called Love Cafe and Lovers Beach.
Some of the members had fairly innocuous names such as ILoveAnimals but others were called LoverGirl and DistrictLover. There were public chats which consisted of both boys and girls asking members to type ‘123’ if they loved them and asking them if they would go out with them. Others stated that they were ‘hot’.
Most were dressed in rock star type outfits but the boys could go bare breasted and the girls could wear bikinis and black, goth-type brassieres.
I found that if you asked someone how old they were, a warning came up stating you had violated their terms, however members were getting around this violation by using txt speak. A member started chatting to me and his second question to me was to ask if I had a ‘fone’ and could I give him my number.
Members can be invited into each other’s rooms for parties and chat. There didn’t seem to be any way to report the content of a chat but you could report a user by clicking on the warning symbol in their profile. There is also a life-ring symbol at the top right hand corner of the site which takes you to a pop up reminder of the rules.
The forum is full of chat about how to get more coins but the first time you log in you are directed to a post that tells you the rules of the forum, reminds you that it is moderated and informs members that inappropriate posts or language will be result in that member being banned.
I did report the player who asked for my number, a pop-up asked me if I wanted to block or report him. I clicked on report and another option asked if I was sure. Then a window popped up informing me that I could earn 30 coins if I entered my email address but it gave no indication of whether my report had been accepted.
MovieStarPlanet Accounts and Hacking
Hacking is another issue and one quick search leads to dozens of YouTube videos that posted details about how to hack into accounts. Again Mumsnet members reported concerns that their children’s accounts had been hacked and the StarCoins they had collected had been taken.
There are also plenty of sites that offer hacking tools for MovieStarPlanet; this would point to a blatant breach of the rules and security of the site but it’s not clear what, if anything, the site is doing about it.
It is very difficult to effectively monitor any site which is created purely for children and there are certainly many more security measures which MovieStarPlanet could take to ensure the safety of its members. Unfortunately sites like this do attract adults and it is clear from what parents have said and from our own research that the rules are being breached and complaints are not being handled as well as they could be.
As ever we would urge parents to monitor their children’s internet usage and encourage them to report anything which might disturb or unsettle them. Parents have the ultimate control over what their children see online and so it would be wise to use your own discretion at all times but to also ensure that you have access to parental controls and an up-to-date anti-virus system.
-The Omniquad Team
PS. We would love to hear from you if you have any experiences you would like to share.