FTC Says Kids Have Easy Access To Explicit Content In Virtual Worlds

Virtual world content easy for minors to view

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The Federal Trade Commission released a report today that found minors can easily access sexually and violently explicit content in online virtual worlds.

The congressionally mandated report, "Virtual Worlds and Kids: Mapping the Risks," calls on operators of virtual worlds to take steps to keep explicit content away from children and teens, and recommends parents become familiar with the virtual worlds their kids visit.

Jon-Leibowitz "It is far too easy for children and young teens to access explicit content in some of these virtual worlds," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "The time is ripe for these companies to grow up and implement better practices to protect kids."

The FTC examined 27 online virtual worlds including those geared toward young children, teens, and adults. The FTC found at least one instance of either sexually or violently explicit content in 19 of the 27 worlds. The FTC observed a heavy amount of explicit content in five of the virtual worlds studied, a moderate amount in four worlds, and only a low amount in the remaining 10 worlds in which explicit content was found.

Among the 14 virtual worlds in the report that were open to children under age 13, seven featured no explicit content, six contained a low amount of such content, and one contained a moderate amount of content. Almost all of the explicit content found in the child-oriented virtual worlds appeared in the form of text posted in chat rooms, on message boards, or in forums.

The report found a greater amount of explicit content in worlds that were geared toward teens or adults. Twelve of the 13 virtual worlds in this category contained explicit content, with a heavy amount observed in five worlds, a moderate amount in three worlds, and a low amount in four 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.

FTC Says Kids Have Easy Access To Explicit Content In Virtual Worlds
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  • http://hubpages.com/profile/dame+scribe Gin

    Children will share what they learn at home, with each other at school, even suggest a name of a site, in jest, only to find, such a site exists. Maybe some sort of identifiying IP stamp and automatic notice of visitation to these sites, should be made available for parents to be more aware of activities on their computers? Just a thought.

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