Child protection in virtual worlds

Some 70 million people under 16 will have accounts in virtual worlds by the end of this year, the New York Times reports. That's twice last year's figure, it adds, citing the research of UK virtual world consulting firm K Zero. And there are more than 200 worlds such as Disney's Club Penguin, Cartoon Network's FusionFall, and Helsinki-based Habbo in place, in the planning, or in development, the Times cites Virtual Worlds Management research as showing. The key to keeping all those kids' in-world experiences safe and constructive and this growing business thriving is moderation. There are two kinds: human and technological. Both kinds have to deal with the "continuing game of cat and mouse between the young people and the technology designed to protect them" – such as profanity filters, chat limited to predetermined phrases, and abuse reporting. Please see the article for details on the changing interplay between human moderators and the technology that supports their work. [See also "Top 8 workarounds of kid virtual world users."]

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