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.
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NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Zooming in on social norms (sidebar)
- Beginning of the end of #purge, revenge porn or social cruelty?
- For our kids & ourselves: Presence in a digital age
- Manage Net risk but focus more on opportunities: Researchers
- Proposed ‘rightful’ framework for Internet safety
- Social media in Saudi schools … sort of
- Textbook case of what NOT to do in teen sexting cases
- Breadth of videogames’ benefits to kids may surprise
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Safe computing includes minding your ergonomics
- Safety, security and privacy risks of fitness tracking and ‘quantified self’
- Don’t let stalkers or abusers and creeps track your phone’s location
- Let’s stop persecuting ‘Auschwitz selfie girl’ for smiling at a camera
- EFF launches free Privacy Badger for Firefox and Chrome to block hidden trackers
- Privacy and security tips for newly-minted college students
- Google to stop labeling apps with in-app purchases as ‘free’
- Home automation and ‘Internet of things’ is great — but think about privacy and security