The BBC have plans for a virtual world, aimed at 7-12 year olds.
“It will give children a chance to move around a safe, secure world where they can not only interact with familiar characters but have an opportunity to make that world a more fascinating place with their own imaginations.”
Those building CBBC World said the emphasis would be on safety and responsibility, with no chatrooms or facilities for building new parts of the virtual world.
I think that it could be interesting to see what children think of it; I suspect that of the younger group they are aiming at, many may well not have really used chatrooms, so won’t miss them. I suspect that the older users will have used them, and thus may well not like it due to the lack of them. However, I assume that the avatars will be able to communicate in some way – so perhaps they’ll have a situation where all conversation is open. (Will those that can’t read / write well use “real” speech?)