Remember those cute Tamagochi toys a few years back? Remember how much in demand those little egg-shaped video games were? The Tamagochi toys were the first virtual pets on Earth. These days virtual pets are no longer hand-held little devices but are mostly found online.
Virtual pets are what are commonly referred to as gateway pets. They help teach people how to care for something that depends on them for care and attention. Some parents give kids virtual pets before graduating them to real pets. They gauge the children’s responsibility by how well they take care of their virtual pets.
Here are a few tips on how to find virtual pets:
- Software. Some virtual pets are readily available as game programs. You can get the games in any electronics store or in any run off the mill video game store. After buying the game disc, it’s just a small matter of installing the game in a computer.
- Handheld devices. Other virtual pets are also still available as small handheld games. You can find these games also in electronics stores and in video game stores. Some big retail chain stores have an electronics section so you may also check these places out. Handheld virtual pets are relatively easy to maintain. Just pop in a new pair of batteries every so often.
- Online. If you don’t want to spend on virtual pets, you can always go online to look for them. Some sites will require that you register for their service before you can start taking care of a virtual pet. Most sites allow you to register for the service for free so you may need a functioning email address to log on. There are also some sites that offer virtual pets as a paid service. These are often an upgrade from the free ones and offer premium service virtual pets. Of course, one caveat for this is that you get what you pay for. Free sites won’t be as fun or sophisticated as those that offer virtual pets as a paid service.
One problem that you may encounter when taking care of virtual pets is that there may be attachment to the pet. There have been documented cases where people have become too attached to their virtual pet that it interferes with their daily routine.
If you’re allowing your kids to take care of a virtual pet, you may have to regulate the time they spend taking care of the pet. It’s important that they understand that the virtual pet is not a real living thing and is nothing more than a video game. If your purpose is to teach them to be more responsible then you need to make them understand that it is only a game and not a real live thing. The virtual pet may move and behave like a living thing, but it’s important your kids realize that they’re not.