This afternoon while I was surfing the Internet I came across an article on http://www.guardian.co.uk. Apparently Disney is doing a 3 million dollar ‘Internet Safety’ campaign around Europe! I wonder if they are going to put up banners or signs around Club Penguin about the Internet safety campaign. Anyway, here is a few paragraphs of what Billybob and the Club Penguin Team had to say about the campaign.
Disney is launching internet safety campaigns targeting 100m childrenand parents in Europe, the Middle East and Africa based on its Club Penguin virtual world, capitalising on the recent paedophile scandal surrounding rival Habbo Hotel.
Disney says it will put up £3m of media to support the campaigns: essentially advertising space on its TV channels, websites and magazines across the EMEA region, as well as on Club Penguin and its other virtual worlds.
Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield – now executive vice president of Disney Online Studios following Disney’s $350m acquisition of the virtual world in August 2007 – announced the initiative in a keynote speech at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield.
“From the very start, our vision for Club Penguin was to create a safe place for my kids and their friends to play online. The scale may now be bigger than I could ever have imagined but that philosophy has not changed,” said Merrifield in the keynote.
“Education is the final piece of the puzzle in terms of kids’ safety online… As an industry I think we can help teach kids the lessons that they need to become responsible digital citizens.”
Club Penguin remains the largest virtual world for children, with 175m accounts created since it launched. It now has users in 190 countries. Merrifield’s commitment to child safety is genuine, but the new education campaign must also be seen in relation to Habbo Hotel’s recent troubles.
A Channel 4 News investigation appeared to show that sexualised chat and sexual approaches to young users were common on Habbo. Investors 3i and Balderton subsequently handed back their stakes in the company, while several British retailers stopped selling Habbo gift cards.
Rigorous safety measures are thus even more of a competitive advantage for virtual worlds aimed at children. Disney says Club Penguin has a team of UK moderators based in Brighton, who receive regular training from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Club Penguin also has a relationship with Childnet International, which runs internet safety sessions in British schools.
[To read the full article please click here]
To be honest I’m extremely proud of Disney for holding this campaign, it really inspires me. And I agree, Disney should be a role model for all the kids out there! Are you proud of Disney for starting this 3 million dollar campaign to keep children online safe? We sure are.
Make sure to comment and tell us!