Please tell us about it!

As part of an on-going research project
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
 we are collecting stories from virtual pet owners around the world.
If you have an Aibo, My Real Baby, Poo-Chi, Neopet, BIO Bug or
any other kind of virtual or digital creature, pet, or doll,
we'd love to hear about your experience with it.
    We are looking for stories from a wide range
of people, adults as well as children.

Read on to see how you can contribute to this exciting project!

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY "stories" ?
We are interested in all kinds of stories that involve you and your robotic, virtual, or digital creature, doll, or pet. You can write to us about anything you think is important, interesting, or touching. We would also enjoy hearing fictional stories about virtual pets. If you send us a made-up story, please clearly label it "FICTION" at the beginning if it's an imaginary story.  Or else, you can use some of our suggestions below.
! Don't forget to clearly indicate your AGE and whether you are a GIRL or a BOY, man or woman, when you send us your story.

1. What kinds of things do you and your creature, pet, or doll do together?
2. Do you feel that you have a special relationship with it?
3. What do you like (and not like) about it?
4. What did you expect it to be like before you got it? How did it live up to your expectations ?
5. How would you describe your pet to somebody who has never seen one (an Aibo, Neopet...)?
6. What is it like to be a caretaker for a virtual creature, pet, or doll?
7. How do friends, family members, and live pets react to your toy and to you spending time with it?
8. How does your toy compare to non-interactive toys like rag dolls or stuffed animals?
9. Is your creature smart? Does it have feelings? Does it think? How do you know?
10. How did your toy come to be? Where did it come from?


The easiest way to contact us is to send an email to

But, you can also send us your stories by mail to:

                Virtual Pet Project
                Massachusetts Institute of Technology
                77 Massachusetts Avenue
                Program in Science, Technology, and Society
                Building E51-194a
                Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 USA

If you live in the Boston area, you can call and leave a message at 617-253-1943, and we will try to arrange a meeting with you.

  • For most cases we will be getting back to you.
  • Participation in this project is confidential. In published materials, we will use pseudonyms for all participants.
  • Finally, if you do not want us to reproduce your stories in publications, or on the web, please include a statement with your story saying: "I do not give permission for this story to be included in published materials."
Sherry Turkle is a Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at M.I.T. and Director of the M.I.T. Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle  has studied people's experiences with new computational objects for more than twenty years.  She is the author of The Second Self and Life on the Screen.

Olivia Dasté and Robert Briscoe are Professor Turkle's research assistants.

Additional Information
Aibo®, is property of Sony. Poo-Chi®, B.I.O. Bugs®, and My Real Baby®, are property of Hasbro.
We are not associated with these or any other toy company.
We cannot help you get any of these toys and we do not have any special information about where they are available.
All published findings of this research project will be in the public domain.

                                  Thank you for your help!
                           We can't wait to hear your stories!