There's a mini boom of kids' virtual world afoot, CNET reports, probably fueled the success of Webkinz and Neopets and Disney's acquisition of ClubPenguin. One reason: "more kids are flocking to imaginative, character-driven environments. An expected 53% of children on the Web will belong to a virtual world within four years, more than doubling the current population of 8.2 million members," reports CNET citing eMarketer figures. Other worlds and services CNET mentions are WebbliWorld.com from the creators of Wallace & Gromit, GaiaOnline.com, Stardoll.com, and Nickelodeon's Nicktropolis. I would add Whyville.net as another prominent one, and possible Finland-based Habbo.com, though it probably skews slightly older. A related CNET article asks, "Are kids ready for ads in such spaces?". Since this interactive advertising goes well beyond cereal boxes and TV spots to immersive games and other forms of direct involvement for children, it's a good question to ask.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- New Facebook policy targets guns, other regulated items
- Google’s new learning tool that learns
- The flap over Talking Angela the chatbot app
- About the worldwide ‘selfie’ phenomenon
- How technology will improve the well-being of young adults
- Calling our children narcissists on ‘a sociopathic scale’: Really!?
- Nothing complicated about this: Read ‘It’s Complicated’!
- Teens’ own (wise) perspectives on life with social media
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Smartphones that promise user privacy
- Author danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’
- Security experts at RSA decry government hacking
- In defense of Internet safety education
- ‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game
- Confessions of a binge viewer
- People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems
- U.S. Safer Internet Day focused on potential, positives and problems too