Younger Kids To Virtual Communities,
Consumerism And Safety Issues
(AP) This past spring, 10-year-old Adam Young joined other tweens on Club Penguin, playing games, throwing virtual snowballs and chatting with fellow kids who appear onscreen as plump cartoon penguins. A few weeks later, Adam asked Mom to pay $5 a month for extra features, such as decorating his online persona's igloo.
Karen Young demanded to learn more about what some have billed as "training wheels" for the MySpace generation. She spent time on the site with Adam and consulted with her sister, the mother of another daily visitor. "I said, 'Well, what is it? What does it involve?'" Young recalled.
"I wanted him to show me what he wanted and what it was about." Drawing preteens as young as 6 or 7, sites like Club Penguin and Webkinz are forcing parents to decide at what age they are willing to let their children roam about and interact with friends online.
This from CBS News.
ABOVE: Six-year-old Mark Barakat plays a game on the Webkinz Web site at his home in Falls Church, Va., July 11, 2007. Children take care of a virtual pet, keeping it happy, healthy and well-fed by "buying" food, toys and amenities with Webkinz cash, which is earned by playing games and fulfilling various tasks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)