At Home Column #17- The Cyber Play Date

I've done the play dates in the park, McDonalds, cinema trips, Wacky Warehouse (always a favourite) and we've had the odd trip to the beach in the school holidays when my 'mum friends' and I drive in convoy style, one in front of the other so no-one gets lost, to the coast with our kids for a play date with a difference. But this is something altogether new. My eight-year-old has started having 'virtual play dates'! Kids in the noughties eh?

She's a user of Moshi Monsters ( and Club Penguin ( and she goes on her dad's computer for these activities (I'm always at my computer busy blogging or getting down ideas for my next book!)

What on Earth is a Moshling?!
On Moshi Monsters she collects Moshlings and on Club Penguin she collects coins which she uses to buy Puffles - a Puffle is a kind of virtual fluffy blob who is your pet, or so I'm told! But the thing is, on both sites she can link up with her friends (kind of like a Facebook for eight year olds!) and on Club Penguin, she can visit her friends' house. This is a virtual house but she can go see Melissa, look at her Puffles and they can chat.

I asked my daughter if she had a house on Club Penguin, and she does, however, in her own words; "It isn't as good as Melissa's because she's a member and I'm not!" (you have to pay to be a member and I have said no thus far!). Also, "Melissa has clothes and I don't" (again, because Melissa is a member) so what kind of mother am I? Allowing my daughter to wander round cyberspace naked, visiting her friends houses who are better than hers, looking at each other's Puffles?!

Feeling Old!
This is a whole new world and no wonder my own mum feels out of touch. She's 60+ and hasn't been on a computer for years, although my husband's nanna is 70+ and she's on Facebook every day, so age isn't a factor. If you are not plugged in nowadays, it's easy to see how you can be left behind, unaware of these new worlds that are opening up for our children. The key to staying up to date as a Jugglista is to take your lead from your kids – they will be able to educate you, just as my child has educated me about cyber play dates!

I've just been up to my daughter's screen to see what they are doing on Club Penguin at the moment and I see a world I don't recognise. Gone are the cute looking fluffy penguins and Puffles and there are some creepy insect like spiders crawling across the screen. When I asked where Melissa's house was, she replied, "come on Mum, I'm on Bin Weevils ( now! You can get new nest items every 30 minutes!

Mum’s verdict – gross! I preferred the cute Puffles and Moshlings!

What aspects of 21st century parenting have surprised you? Drop me a comment below!

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site a month ago. Do visit At Home and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions too!
About the Author
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with at home in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog- Juggle Mum.
She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at

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