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Online Virtual Playground for Kids: Zookazoo

Boot Camp feature for Friday, May 16, 2008

An online virtual playground for kids. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Sites like SecondLife have attracted lots of grown ups into a virtual world. For kids....many sites have tie ins with toys or TV shows. Public television has PBSkids.org. A virtual world site designed for 6 to 12 year olds...has been launched by a company called Zookazoo.com. About why it's worthwhile for kids, COO David Dwyer says...

"Spending time on Zookazoo is a very active experience and I think compared to a passive TV experience right there you've got something going for you from a parent's point of view. But in world, there are games which emphasize pattern recognition and memory games and that sort of thing. So for young kids those are really good skills. It's a social environment where kids need to read and write constantly. So we have a great little story about a little girl who's just beginning to read and her mother's cooking dinner and her daughter's constantly calling her up to type some responses into Zookazoo. And mom finally says, you just have to do it on your own and we got this great email from the mom saying my daughter is really learning to read and write because she's trying so hard to communicate."

Kids can go on the site and play for free as guests. To participate more fully, using virtual currency to buy items for their avatars and such... requires a subscription at 5.95 a month. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.