Some 70 million people under 16 will have accounts in virtual worlds by the end of this year, the New York Times reports. That's twice last year's figure, it adds, citing the research of UK virtual world consulting firm K Zero. And there are more than 200 worlds such as Disney's Club Penguin, Cartoon Network's FusionFall, and Helsinki-based Habbo in place, in the planning, or in development, the … [Read more...] about Child protection in virtual worlds
by Sharon Duke EstroffDuring my time on Club Penguin, I became a regular at the local pizzeria. I liked it because of the cliché Italian piano music, the cozy candle-lit tables, and the fiery brick oven; but mostly because of the friendly waiters and waitresses who never, ever delivered my pizza.Sure, I was initially stumped over how I could have given my order to 16 separate penguins and not have … [Read more...] about Undercover Mom in ClubPenguin, Part 6: Old-fashioned pretend play in a new-fangled world
By Sharon Duke EstroffI’m not even a week into my undercover expedition and I’m already racking up penguin pals like Pokemon cards. No wonder Club Penguin's signature tagline is "Waddle around and make new friends"! That said, not all the birds I’ve met in this hopping virtual world are amicable types. Here’s what happened when I (ChillyLily) approached a group of cheery looking penguins dancing … [Read more...] about Undercover Mom in ClubPenguin, Part 5: Cold shoulders
by Sharon Duke EstroffI'm not exaggerating when I tell you that at any given moment in any given corner of any given chatroom on ClubPenguin.com, there is someone saying something to the effect of “boys say i” or “beautiful girls come over here” or “are you single?” or “will u be with me?” - which is exactly what Cowboy217 asked me one moonlit night in his igloo.We’d met earlier that evening at … [Read more...] about Undercover Mom in ClubPenguin, Part 4: The ‘dating’ game
By Sharon Duke EstroffI’m beginning to understand why kids are so obsessed with Club Penguin. It’s a posh ski vacation via DSL connection. There’s snow tubing, ski lifts, and an ice hockey rink; a coffee shop, pizza joint, and discothèque; even a beach complete with surfboards, sun umbrellas and an outdoor fire pit (photo links below). And they’re all packed like sardines with friend-seeking … [Read more...] about Undercover Mom in ClubPenguin, Part 3: Anybody here speak English?!