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May 16, 2007

Playstation Makes a Move for Kids Online Social Gaming

Clubpenguinguidebutton Techmeme listed that "Sony In Advanced Talks To Buy Kids Social Gaming Service ClubPenguin". It seems as though Sony is looking to get involved in kids online social gaming, Club Penguin being one of the more popular ones. TechCrunch's coverage of the story mentioned Club Penguin’s virtual world competitors "which broadly includes Second Life, Runescape, Gaia, Habbo Hotel, Cyworld, Neopets, Webkinz and others."

I just gave my son Internet access on his laptop after installing Internet controls. Should I let him enter the world of kids online gaming? I have friends who's children enjoy ClubPenguin and Webkinz, bordering on hooked. But the games seem harmless and are mostly free... Except for buying some stuffed animals. One of the moms at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog mentioned that she arrived at a local store when it first opened to get the WebKinz "Pegasus Pony" and "Pink Poodle".

I need to ponder this one over. My first step will be to look at the "information for parents" pages for some of the games mentioned:
Club Penguin
WebKinz
Gaia
Habbo Hotel

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OK, please do post about what you find. I haven't investigated any of these yet because my daughter is content with the sites she visits, but part of me is bothered by how commercial the sites are. I would prefer she visit sites that are fun/educational and not marketing-oriented. But the online community aspect of some of these freaks me out....as much as I enjoy it myself. :)

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