Kids sometimes become self-absorbed when playing games, but Animal Jam developer WildWorks hopes that playing can actually make them better citizens.
The Utah-based developer today announced its partnership with Free the Children, the charity — started by a then-12-year-old Craig Kielburger in 1995 — that encourages young people to become active local and global citizens. WildWorks’ Animal Jam is the biggest kids social network game in North America, and it’s hoping the partnership encourages its 30 million worldwide players to think in terms of “we” rather than “me.”
Animal Jam, which uses a subscription payment model on PC, is heading to iOS and Android devices this April. Clark Stacey, the chief executive officer at WildWorks, recently told GamesBeat about his plan to ethically monetize Animal Jam mobile by giving kids educational content when they buy a new animal avatar. Monetizing kids games is an ethical minefield, so offering educational and charitable content is a smart move by WildWorks. In return, Free the Children has a great ready-made global audience of kids to share its positive message with.
WildWorks aims to get Animal Jam players engaged and involved in various initiatives, including addressing homelessness, sustainable income projects for developing countries, and supporting human rights for children around the world.
The move also sees WildWorks becoming an educational partner for We Day — Free the Children’s education and events program that encourages kids to help change the world. Teachers will use Animal Jam in classrooms as a learning aid for teaching the life sciences as part of the educational program.
“Animal Jam has always had a focus on building the digital citizens of tomorrow,” said Clark Stacey, the chief executive officer of WildWorks, in a statement. “With this partnership, we’re taking that a step further and helping to develop global citizens of the future. We hope to inspire our millions of players to be engaged in the sciences and humanities, learning valuable skills to help them be leaders in their communities.”