If you believe what a few of its 72 million worldwide players told USATODAY, the Facebook-based, virtual-reality social game offers a mild sense of escape, fosters a sort of virtual diligence (about tending one’s virtual crops and farm animals), and encourages community and charity toward one’s virtual neighbors (neighbors get “points and gold for scaring away pests, fertilizing or feeding chickens” on each other’s land). Farmville wasn’t always purely positive, of course (see “Social gaming cleaning up its act?”). Farmville’s parent, San Francisco-based game developer Zynga, announced last fall it was banishing all “offer advertising” from its games (Farmville fans, have you seen any lately?), but they’re something to watch out for in social games – those parasitical little offers that tricked players into ultimately paying “far more for in-game currency than if they just paid [the game itself] cash,” TechCrunch reported. Just because Zynga supposedly got rid of it doesn’t mean other developers did, so talk with your kids about “free” offers on phones and on the Web. [Meanwhile, SocialTimes.com reports that the BBC is getting into social gaming (looking at the iPhone, Facebook, and Nintendo Wii and DS platforms), having hired a new executive VP of games.]
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NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Mobile rules in the US now too
- What are we really seeing in the social media fishbowl?
- Spoiler alert: Kid loves teaching Twitter to Dad
- At the IGF: Youth participation = greater youth e-safety
- Enabling peer protection: Knowledge is empowerment
- Millennials’ changing social media use: Survey
- Heard of Twitch? Amazon has!
- Dealing with the nasties online
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- High school kids show strong support for First Amendment
- UN bringing child rights into the digital age
- IGF attendees complain about censorship in Turkey while some advocate it for youth
- Internet Governance Forum topics include human rights, network neutrality and child protection
- Protecting children online needs to allow for their right to free speech
- 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