11 December 2009

US - FTC's milestone report on virtual worlds

(Net Family News)
The Federal Trade Commission has sent to Congress its close study of 27 online virtual worlds - 14 for children under 13 and 13 aimed at teens and adults - looking at the level of sexually explicit and violent content and what the VWs were doing to protect children from it. The FTC found at least one instance of either sexually or violently explicit content in 19 of the 27 worlds. Half the explicit content found in the teen- and adult-oriented virtual worlds was text-based, while the other half appeared as graphics, occasionally with accompanying audio. Measures these VWs surveyed take to keep minors away from explicit content included "age screens" designed to keep minors from registering below a site's minimum age; "adults only" sections requiring subscriptions or age verifications; abuse reporting and other flagging of inappropriate content; human moderation; and some filtering technology. See also FTC Press Release .