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More Web playgrounds coming

Stories about kids’ virtual worlds are becoming perennial because children 6-10 appear to be a growth market. Twenty million children are expected to be virtual-world members by 2011, up from 8.2 million right now, according to eMarketer figures cited by the New York Times. This latest article paints a pretty good landscape. There’s Disney’s new “Pirates of the Caribbean” world for kids under 11, with “worlds on the way for Cars and Tinker Bell, among others. Nickelodeon, already home to Neopets, is spending $100 million to develop a string of worlds. Coming soon from Warner Brothers Entertainment, part of Time Warner: a cluster of worlds based on its Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and D. C. comics properties.” I was glad to get an update from this piece on Neopets’ protections for kids under 13 (in compliance with the US’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA): “Neopets restricts children under 13 from certain areas unless their parents give permission in a fax. Several Neopets employees patrol the site around the clock, and messaging features are limited to approved words and phrases.”

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