Children’s virtual worlds are the new indoor playground for digital savvy kids. Along side TV, web & video games, virtual worlds take their place as the latest form of online screen entertainment. Kids take control of an animated avatar in a 2D or 3D space accessed through a web browser or downloaded from the Internet. They contain loads of activities and provide a more engaging and interactive experience compared to traditional media.
Kids start by spending a very long time kitting out their avatar and once fashionably respectable they begin exploring the virtual world. They will click on other avatars to make friends, chat, decorate their homes, adopt a pet, buy loads of stuff with virtual cash and play games/quests along the way. Communities are formed in these virtual societies with rules and regulations, so users live by a code of conduct similar to the real world.
All children’s virtual world consists of the same basic set of features:
- Customizable male/female avatars with a variety of clothing to choose from.
- Virtual shops where users can buy clothes, furniture and other accessories.
- A virtual currency that is earned by engaging in activities or purchased with real money.
- Single or multiplayer games.
- Some type of home/private space where avatars can put their stuff and invite friends over.
- Option to adopt and care for a virtual pet.
- A text chat system that offers safe/open chat, usually set with parental controls.
- Buddy lists of friends that you can chat and send messages to.
- News Bulletin/Magazine about events happening the world.