Games with Vocal Chat and Safeguarding kids

Anyone who has ever listened to a teenager on Xbox Live knows how it goes. He’s saying WHAT? Racist, homophobic, bigoted language … and that’s just in their handles. Given easy voice chat, conversation heads straight to the lowest common denominator. But unfortunately perhaps, it’s not possible to censor voice chat as easily as it is to censor text in order to make the chat safe for children.

That’s a pretty difficult design problem. Given you have written a game for children where chatting is possible, is it even remotely possible to make sure conversation stays friendly and helpful?

Talkin’ smack to kids in online games – Massively

As always, I just grabbed a bit of that – and I’m glad there are game peeps talking about it. Voice gets more and more popular with folks.

How do you stop kids from sharing information, or being exposed to dialog explicit and inappropriate for young ears? How do you monitor cyberbullying? Personally – the whole thing is a nightmare to me.

So, keep aware – this might turn out to be an interesting “challenge” (challenge, you say? Yes, check the article) with benefits that can spare a generation of kids from exposure to content unnecessary, inappropriate, and dangerous.

Happy days, all.

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  1. May 28, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Izzy, i’m with you. This one scares me, but methinks it’s just another means for new toolsets to be developed. Will we be able to drop voice chat if it matches certain vocal strings? Sounds like a job for MIT.

    Also, there is the added extra that if a parent is monitoring the child’s voice chat, they will hear the horrific language used. That of course is dependent on parents parenting. (no offence, but there will be moms and dads that leave the room or do not monitor every waking moment of their child’s online time).

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