Virtual World Standards for Children’s Safety

Ren Reynolds over at Terra Novahas a good post today with a budding discussion thread about how the Virtual World industry should put together some agreed upon policies and procedures for children’s’ on-line safety.

For this to work sites need a combination of technical and behavioral approaches.

More below the fold…

He mentions Whyville as particularly good on this subject and I have to agree that they have put together one of the best combinations of technical and behavioral/cultural approaches to this issue (disclosure – they are a client).

They have also managed to mix some humor and fun into it – misbehave and your mouth gets duct taped for a couple of days so you can’t chat.

The important thing is that it isn’t just about technical issues –chat streams filters etc. – you need to actively design in behavioral and cultural standards into your community and go out of your way to make sure community members get a chance to learn about them.

The Federal Trade Commission has a good start on this with their On Guard On Line site. Perhaps the industry could start here.