Parenthood is an enormous life decision and should not be entered into lightly. Luckily, there are lots of programs out there which offer a virtual taste of motherhood, a bit like a try before you buy. These programs (both online and offline) are designed to replicate the needs and wants of a virtual baby, and can be a great training tool for moms to be.
Once you’ve made the decision to adopt a virtual baby, it’s relatively easy to do. There’s no fluffing about touring the dating circuit for a presentable mate, nor is there the “physical labor” in the making or birth of the child. Adoption paperwork is minimal, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the most adorably cute baby that could possibly be digitally generated. There are heaps of paid, free, and downloadable virtual baby programs online, as well as package programs for game consoles.
Some virtual babies are more realistic than others. Basically, most virtual babies will do all the things a normal newborn will do, but in a shortened, virtual time scale. They’ll poop, fart, burp, cry, sleep, smile, giggle, and need lots of feeding. As the virtual parent, the player needs to satisfy all the baby’s needs, to keep the baby happy and healthy, just as you might do in real life.
Some more sophisticated programs also require the virtual parent to talk and play with the baby so that the baby learns how to interact with others, just like a real baby would. Some online parenting simulations are so realistic, the virtual baby will even do things like pee when you are trying to change their diaper. Unlike real life, though, your clothes stay miraculously clean and scentless, which can only be described as a definite plus.
Some high schools have used virtual babies as a tool for teaching young teenage girls about the responsibilities of parenthood. It is hoped that this will amount to an attempt to enlighten them about the possible pitfalls of teen pregnancy. Adopting a virtual baby can also be a great way to test the waters for women who are interested in raising a family, but aren’t quite sure what to expect from newborn babies. It can also be great for moms who are expecting, who haven’t had a lot of experience looking after infants.
Some game reviewers have approached virtual baby programs as actual games, and have found them less than satisfactory. It’s easy to see how changing a diaper or taking the baby for a walk can be a complete bore to someone who is not interested in babies! It’s important to remember that these programs are intended to simulate real world experiences and teach parents-to-be, rather than for entertainment value.
While virtual motherhood is a fantastic way to discover the range of basic responsibilities needed to care for a baby, there is really no substitute for the real thing. The virtual adoption mentions nothing about your own physical changes and challenges that arise from childbirth, and can’t account for all the different nuances and personality traits that babies can have. Most importantly, virtual babies can’t simulate the loving bonds that exist between mother and child, and that’s arguably the most vital and treasured part of being a parent.