Virtual worlds threatening kids moral values

Oscar-winning film-maker Lord Puttnam gave the opening keynote speech at the Virtual Worlds Forum, which has been going on in London these past few days.

Lord Puttnam took the opportunity to warn people of the dangers that virtual worlds pose to our children. The increasing number of toy-themed virtual worlds on the web is a growing cause for concern as access to a lot of these worlds is dependant on a real world purchase.

Several of these toy-themed virtual spaces require a child to purchase a certain product such as a Barbie doll before granting them access to the site. Puttnam worries that this approach to marketing will teach children that they are first and foremost a consumer and urged developers to come up with more moral virtual worlds aimed specifically at children.

He received mixed responses to these ideas from people involved in creating these virual worlds. Matthias Mikshe, founder and head of Stardoll claims that it is adults who apply the label “virtual worlds” to these places and that for kids who are members of a digital generation, it is a first nature.