Me again! Today I've been looking into the Club Penguin site from Disney which is aimed at 6-14 year olds, although any age can join.
“Club Penguin is a snow-covered, virtual world where children play games and interact with friends in the guise of colourful penguin avatars. “ - Club Penguin Website.
The main features of the Club Penguin site are similar to that of other childrens' sites such as Moshi Monsters in the sense that users can create an avatar to walk around the virtual world and communicate with others. One of the differences I noticed with Club Penguin was that they offer a “standard safe chat” and an “ultimate safe chat”. Ultimate chat prevents users from engaging in ANY chat with other players apart from sending set phrases and emoticons to each other. As well as these two options, the site also filters messages to prevent telephone numbers & other personal info from being revealed to other players. However users can add each other to their friends lists and send private messages. I'm unsure If the private messages are filtered too but after some searching around online – apparently they are, although there has been an odd occasion when the filter system has been down and players have then gone on to swear at eachother just for the sake of it.
The only downside to these safety features are when they backfire. I found out from this page: http://leladavidson.hubpages.com/hub/All_About_Kids_Website_Club_Penguin and the comments left from young players of Club Penguin that they have worked their way around the filters, and have learnt how to create their own “games” (some with more adult themes) within Club Penguin, such as having babies with other penguins, entering “slip” (strip) clubs etc. Although these things are banned within the game, the majority of the players seem to know about these things and have also created codes to “swear” e.g. “beach” is supposed to mean b*tch and so on. Using codes like this makes it hard for the moderators to moderate the chat as players aren't technically breaking the rules.
Maybe the reason why players are creating games like this within the world is due to the filter being so strict within Club Penguin in the first place that kids feel they have to come up with other ways to feel grown up? The sad thing about this is, kids are growing up before their years and moving on from sites like Club Penguin onto older social networking sites where they don't have such strict rules (allbeit they may have to lie about their age to get on them!)
Thanks for still coming back to read my posts & please let me know if there are any websites for kids/tweens or teens you'd like me to review!
|Club Penguin's playable characters|