Along with violence and game addiction, inappropriate content is one of the bugbears that video games in general and MMOs in specific can't get away from. A recent FTC study
took a look at the general safety available in twenty-seven different virtual worlds, including Second Life
, and their findings were... well, if you're at all familiar with Second Life
, you can kind of guess at the results. Nineteen of the worlds surveyed featured some sort of inappropriate content. The worlds targeted explicitly at minors didn't fare a great deal better, with a full half of the fourteen kid-oriented worlds having some explicit content.
The report goes on to suggest certain approaches to better handle gating content for younger children, including further prevention of children from fraudulently registering in worlds that are supposed to be exclusive to adults. However, some elements of the study's methodology are a bit questionable, especially as their list of explicit material included words common to anyone with a history of playing video games. (Or cable television.) The full report
is worth looking at if you're a parent or if you're interested in the findings, and we'd be remiss not to mention our own ongoing series
about playing MMOs in a family setting.