Kidscom.com

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KidsCom.com is a virtual world geared toward kids ages 8–14.Kidscom.com has many "worlds" (virtual places) that the user can go to in order to have fun with an avatar, but players will be able to do more things while a member then when not. It was a website for a long time dealing with new competition such as Webkinz. KidsCom.com is published by Circle 1 Network, LLC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was first launched in 1995 as a site for kids. After receiving new capital in 2006, Circle 1 Network used those funds to enhance and expand KidsCom.com – a site that the company describes as safe, fun and educational.[1]

As a result of those funds, the virtual world was launched in 2007 and currently has over 2 million users.

KidsCom.com gives kids an opportunity to learn more about climate change while playing games, and making new friends. It has been widely praised for its dedication to both fun and learning, whilst teaching a new generation how to look after the Earth.[2]

New Chat System[edit]

Kidscom.com has introduced a new chat system to keep the virtual world appropriate. The new chat system detects whether you are behaving appropriately or not. Kidscom.com uses this information to determine how large your approved vocabulary list is when playing the game. The more inappropriate you talk the less you can say. While the more appropriate you talk the more you can say. There are three different trust levels that determine how much you can say. You will know what your trust level is by notifications that appear when trust levels have changed.

Trusted[edit]

When you are of trusted chat status you have the largest approved vocabulary available to talk with. It may also allow small typos that do not change the meaning of what you are saying.

Almost Trusted[edit]

When you are of almost trusted chat status you have a moderate amount of approved vocabulary available to talk with. It is ample enough to communicate with others, but in some cases sentences may not go through to prevent inappropriate content on the virtual world.

Not Trusted (Clouded)[edit]

When you are of not trusted chat status you have a very limited amount of approved vocabulary or even no vocabulary to talk with. It is not ample enough to communicate with others, but by cooperating your status will go back up in time.

Membership[edit]

KidsCom.com offers two types of membership, Subscription and Free:

Free[edit]

Free Members are called “Allies” and are shown on the screen and can dress their avatar very limitedly. They have the ability to chat and interact with much of the site content, but they can only purchase kidskash clothing, only have a one room house with garden, and cannot be Team Leaders for the Team Challenges though they can participate in challenges as a team fan. Now Allies can purchase a limited selection of additional clothes designed for free members. Also a limited selection of additional house furniture and garden decor can be purchased by Allies. Along with the ability to purchase kidskash clothing free members can purchase kidskash house furniture and garden decor.

Subscription[edit]

Subscription Memberships are available at a monthly, quarterly or yearly rate. These members are referred to as “Idea Seekers” and can be Team Leaders for the Team Challenges, can purchase more clothing and other accessories, have access to a wider variety of virtual pets, have a bigger house with a lot more of a furniture selection, and a lot more of a garden decor selection. Additionally Idea Seekers have special access to the Idea Seeker Park. Idea Seekers can be identified by a blue star located beneath the character.[3]

History - KidsCom.com and the FTC[edit]

KidsCom was one of the earliest kids-only sites on the Internet, having been online since February 1995.[4] It was an early test site for a large CPG company interested in determining if kids were online. After a very successful test, KidsCom.com grew into more than just a test site.

On May 13, 1996, the Center for Media Education (CME) filed a petition requesting that the Federal Trade Commission investigate and bring a law enforcement action for alleged deceptive practices in the operation of an Internet Web site called “KidsCom,” then operated by SpectraCom, Inc. However, the FTC decided not to bring charges and the BBB said that KidsCom.com is an example of responsible marketing to children.[5]

The FTC decided not to bring any charges or enforcement action against KidsCom.com for the following reasons: Firstly, KidsCom has modified its website in significant respects. KidsCom now sends an e-mail to parents when children register at the site, providing notice of its collection practices. Parents are provided with the option to object to release of information to third parties on an aggregate, anonymous basis. Most importantly, KidsCom does not release personally identifiable information to third parties without prior parental approval. KidsCom also now discloses to the site visitor the purposes for which it is collecting the information. Secondly, there was no evidence that KidsCom at any time released any personally identifiable information to third parties for commercial marketing or any other purposes. Thirdly, the collection of information from children on the Internet is widespread. The staff of the Center for Media Education determined not to recommend that the FTC initiate a law enforcement action against KidsCom.[5]

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