Virtual worlds are becoming so popular that toys now are serving as platforms to connect children to cyberspace communities, which brings a new level of toy safety into focus for toymakers — and parents. KizToys Inc. has taken a responsible role in developing a virtual world for children.
The company launched KizPlanet last month at Toy Fair. The virtual world has two communities: KizPal, a network of friends, and KizMoto, a virtual world built around cars and other vehicles.
Play begins with the purchase of plug-in toy figures, which will be available starting in June. Connect the action figure or vehicle to the USB port and open a virtual world of play.
In KizMoto, children can customize their car, race on a 3-D track and learn about car repair. There are also fun facts about each car in the line.
In the KizPal community, kids can play 3-D games, play with other KizPals in the digital playground or visit the clubhouse to learn about the other Pals in the Kiz line.
In 2006, two dads, Chris Moreau and Ashley Johnson, recognizing the direction of the future world of play patterns, decided to develop a safe world of online play for children. Their first creation was KizPlanet, a hybrid virtual community that makes the Internet a global playground for children. It’s also a virtual pen-pal network, allowing kids to communicate with other kids throughout the world by translating text between the correspondents.
Aware of the danger of chat rooms posed by adult predators, Moreau and Johnson built their online community around three features: safety, innovation and education. The company developed KizSafe, a patent-pending technology that allows children to enter KizPlanet anonymously.
DENISE I. O’NEAL