It is no shock to me that youth wordlwide are being drawn into graphically based virtual world environments. The medium captures attention like no other as it engages us in sight, sound, hearing, and touch (keyboard). As parents encourage their children to stay inside more often then venture outdoors for unstructured fun and free time, kids are making semi-structured play online.
The article in the New York Times captures the exuberances of the youth entertainment community but it fails to represent the potential for outside marketers to engage participants. Will these spaces be breeding grounds for the next wave of consumerists who are cultured to 'purchasing' as the only means to enhance their avatar? I applaud the CDC's efforts in engaging the community of Whyville, where avatars are catching the flu ... that is unless they get their vaccination. Rez Nation recorded a session given by Erin Edgerton and John Anderton from CDC on their engagement in virtual worlds.