Virtual world safety

Anne Collier of NetFamilyNews just posted a piece about virtual world moderators. She points out that “Virtual worlds are a red-hot topic these days, probably because of their rapid growth and the US Federal Trade Commission’s report on their content.”  Collier also links to a white paper on “How to moderate Teens and Tweens.”

Virtual worlds are enormously popular, according to Virtual World News.  In July 2009, the site published statistics from KZero claiming that “the total number of registered accounts in the virtual worlds sector totaled 579,000,000 in the April-June quarter, 2009.”

According to KZero  the average age of virtual world users is 14. That’s substantially lower than social networking sites.

Parents need to be aware of the safety tools in the virtual worlds that their kids use.  Most (but not all) of these sites have some excellent tools in place including the ability to block open chat (requiring the kids to select from pre-written text or emoticons).

The NetFamilyNews article also links to some new tips on virtual worlds from ConnectSafely.org, the non-profit site that Anne and I co-direct.

There is a separate set of tips for kids and teens.

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