Web worlds 'useful' for children


Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research.
They are also a "powerful and engaging" alternative to more passive pursuits such as watching TV, said the BBC-sponsored study.
The research was done with children using the BBC's Adventure Rock virtual world, aimed at those aged 6-12.
The researcher said the BBC should have involved children early on to guide development and provide feedback.
Trial time
Carried out by Professor David Gauntlett and Lizzie Jackson of the University of Westminster, the research surveyed and interviewed children who were the first to test Adventure Rock.
The online world is a themed island built for the BBC's CBBC channel by Belgian game maker Larian.
Children explore the world alone but it uses message boards so children can share what they find and what they make in the various creative studios dotted around the virtual space.
The research looked at the ways the children used the world and sought feedback from them on its good and bad aspects.

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