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
- Students called heroes in this 6th-grade class
- In the face of school violence, what do we default to?
- Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability
- FB & Oculus VR: The potential of a virtual-reality platform
- What’s (importantly) different about Snapchat
- We ‘like’ faces in social media: Study
- Yik Yak update: How the app came to geo-fence off US schools
- Smart safety: YouTube’s ‘neighborhood watch program’
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Identity theft a problem from cradle to grave — Kids most vulnerable
- How to protect your family from Heartbleed security flaw (slideshow)
- Beware of Heartbleed inspired phishing scams
- Are sites you use vulnerable to Heartbleed security flaw?
- Microsoft ends support of Windows XP: Machines highly vulnerable to security risks
- The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years
- Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’
- Adults spend 11 hour a day using electronic media