If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

BBC: virtual worlds good for kids

Research finds they teach social skills.

A research study commissioned by the BBC has concluded that online virtual worlds can be a useful tool in the development of young children.

The research used a world called Adventure Rock, developed for the BBC by Belgium's Larian, and aimed at 6-12 year olds.

After observing the ways children used the world and seeking their feedback, the University of Westminster researchers said that online worlds were useful "rehearsal spaces" where children could try out behaviours and learn social skills. They could do so free of the consequences and difficulties that would follow in the real world.

"Virtual worlds can be a powerful, engaging and interactive alternative to more passive media," said Professor David Gauntlett.

Beneficial or not, kids' virtual worlds are big business; last year, Disney bought Club Penguin for USD 700 million. Although most are largely social spaces, the first full-blown massively multiplayer games aimed specifically at children are now in development: Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realmscx and NetDevil's LEGO Universe.

You're not signed in!

Create your ReedPop ID & unlock community features and much, much more!

Create account
Tagged With
About the Author
Oli Welsh avatar

Oli Welsh


Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch