There have been many heated discussions on parenting and gaming blogs about the right age to start your kid using a computer. It is not uncommon to see toddlers playing with their parent’s iphones to keep the peace at a family meal, or babies being distracted by colourful images and tinny ringtones. In the past few years, there have been some virtual worlds created especially for the under 10 market. Here at AvatarGeneration we have analysed our directory of kids virtual worlds to see exactly what sort of virtual worlds are being created for the under 10’s.
We found that most kids virtual worlds are targeting older rather than very young kids. Of the 156 active virtual worlds that we list in our database, we found that only ten virtual worlds specifically targeted only kids under 10 years old.
Looking at the communication options in these worlds, seven had no chat options, and the remaining three had safe chat only. This shows that the concept of safety is high when virtual worlds for very young children are being developed. It would obviously be both unsuitable and potentially dangerous for kids this young to be exposed to open chat in a virtual world. Although very young children would not have typing skills, many six and seven year olds can read and have better gaming skills than many adults.
We also analysed the themes of these virtual worlds, and found that two thirds of the virtual worlds were connected to real life consumer products such as toys, books, television programs and movies. This is an interesting finding which shows that most of the virtual worlds aimed at under 10s have an focus on marketing consumer products as well as providing an entertainment and learning experience. Alternatively, two other virtual worlds, aimed at the under 10s, had a specific educational focus, and one concentrated on content creation.
So what can a kid so young actually do in these worlds? We found that almost all the worlds had the facility to customize an avatar and play certain games. They also allowed kids to adopt a pet, buy stuff, watch movies, win trophies and badges and play music. Although this doesn’t seem to be very different to virtual worlds for older kids, the big difference would be the provision of chat options which is much stricter in virtual worlds aimed at the under 10s.
Our short analysis has shown that there are few virtual worlds aimed at very young children specifically, but of those that are available, they have strict safety measures and satisfactory gaming features. Try out our search engine to find out more information about these virtual worlds.