Feds Cite Child Safety Hazards on Virtual Worlds

It’s a wide, weird world out there on the Web, and it can be a scary place for kids. A federal investigation has found that virtual worlds have vastly differing policies to keep kids away from inappropriate content. eSecurityPlanet has the details about what the Federal Trade Commission found.

Federal officials have warned that online virtual worlds fail to adequately protect children from explicit sexual and violent content, advising parents to take a more active role in their kids’ online lives and calling on site operators to clean up their act.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday released a report analyzing the content and policies of 27 virtual worlds — immersive, 3-D environments where people interact with each other in the guise of an avatar.

Of those, 19 were home to sexual or violent content, and some went out of their way to encourage minors to circumvent their age restrictions.

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

Read the full story at eSecurityPlanet.com

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