It sounds like a cross between Facebook, Second Life, and Habbo Hotel, and it's coming soon to a Facebook profile near you, the New York Times reports. It says there are several products in the works, but one such "turns a flat profile page into a three-dimensional live chat room. Users choose characters to represent themselves from a list of preternaturally handsome avatars … and proceed to one of a dozen environments, like a gothic urban warehouse or seaside villa. With videogame-like precision, they can then navigate that virtual space, which may feature their Facebook photos hanging from the walls and a YouTube video playing on a widescreen TV. Up to 15 others can choose avatars and enter the same room at the same time for text-based live socializing." When I first read this, I thought, "oh no," because online chatrooms are notorious for virtual sexual encounters and starting points for potential teen victimization. "Characterized by names like 'Single and Looking,' they often devolved into noisy chaos," the Times reports, or worse. That darkside is possible here, too, if avatars can wear risqué clothing or be put into sexual poses, but teens looking for this can find it already on the Web. Here's the latest on Facebook's new instant-messaging feature from CNET.
NEW! Subscribe to our newsletter
Please sign up for our email newsletter. We publish about twice a month (you can easily unsubscribe if you need to).
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Heard of Twitch? Amazon has!
- Dealing with the nasties online
- Leadership in bullying prevention and so much more
- Kindness really could be going viral! Just look…
- More clarity on teens’ ‘Am I pretty?’ videos
- A bit of videogaming is good for kids: Study
- Virginia teen sexting case: (Somewhat) reduced injustice
- ‘Revenge porn’: Exposing cruel disclosure
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- It’s time for schools to upgrade both technology and pedagogy
- Why Google (and Facebook) should admit kids under 13
- As Ferguson struggles, Georgia teens create app to rate police departments
- Tech can make driving dangerous, but also safer
- IAC’s Ask.com buys Ask.fm and hires a safety officer to stem bullying
- Massive data breach shows skills of Russian hackers
- Google to reward sites with HTTPS security in search rankings
- Five teens & ‘one mature adult’ create Push for Pizza app