03 August 2007

US - Social Sites Aim at Users Too Young for MySpace

(Washington Post)
Disney has announced the acquisition of Club Penguin, a virtual world for children that's been around less than two years but has grown to 12 million registered users, largely without marketing. Disney executives said the deal, valued at as much as $700 million depending on the company's performance, won't result in changes to the Club Penguin site, which requires parental permission for membership and doesn't have advertising. But the deal has prompted child advocates to ask whether kids are helped or harmed by exposure to the Web. There are a growing number of sites that claim to offer entertainment and education for children. Disney said it wants to invest in sites where parents can be assured of their children's safety against adult content and contact from strangers.