But the New York Times is promoting Zynga’s latest game like it’s genuine news — good news, at that.
Owned by Mark Pincus (right), Zynga is said by VentureBeat to be worth $3 billion.
That’s because it’s sucked in millions of marks, a significant, very frightening, number of them children.
When I logged on this morning and checked comments for spam, there was a Reader’s Write on another Zynga game called YoVille. It was from Alex, 13, the same age as my daughter, Emma.
“I play just about all the Zynga games (Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafè World ect.) exept Yo Ville”, he says.
Except YoVille? Why’s that?
Nothing amusing about the Mafia
Last year, “I’m getting all kinds of Fa$ebook and Twitter messages to join various peoples’ Mafia families”, I said, going on:
“Mafia Wars is from a company called Zynga. For me, there’s nothing amusing about the Mafia and there’s no way I’d join anything which bases itself on a deeply evil gang which depends for its existence on extortion and terror.”
Not only but also, “ ‘Zynga (the company that develops Mafia Wars) does not give a rats a** after injecting a spyware cookie into the game,’ says i_hate_zyng’s Reddit post, suggesting:
“ ‘Upvote and let the others know how a company can screw up your security for personal monetary gains’!”
Social gaming addiction is a real problem. It may be a somewhat funny problem, but it’s still a problem. And it’s no wonder that kids without access to credit cards are taking all these sketchy offers to get game currency. They’re hooked.
“Arrington is a very wealthy lawyer who’s old enough to look after himself”, I noted, adding, “But what about the kids?” – a point also raised by Emma in March, 2009.
Too fond of the Net?
In a p2pnet post, “I work online and I’ve spent hours explaining the pit-falls and the ups and downs of the Net and I’m fine with letting her go online to do pretty well what she wants to do within the two hours she’s theoretically allowed”, I said, going on >>>
I say theoretically because I’m not looking over her shoulder all the time and I expect her to log off when it’s time to log off.
In other words, I trust her.
Sometimes my wife and I worry she’s too fond of the Net. But it’s an integral part of life in the digital 21st century and will become even more so as she grows up.
But parents worry about everything. It’s their job.
So when she asked if she could join YoVille, explaining it was a kind of virtual world, I said Yes, figuring if it was on Facebook, it couldn’t be too bad: that as mercenary as Facebook’s owners are, they’re not stupid enough to allow anything really offensive on the site.
I was dead wrong.
Soon after she joined YoVille, “Dad, can I do a post on Facebook for p2pnet?” Emma, who was 12 at the time, asked.
She’s home-schooled and “as far as I and my wife, Liz, are concerned, writing this kind of thing is much the same as writing an essay in school, only better because it’s self-selected instead of imposed”, I said, going on, “So I logged on … and found the item below waiting for me — and I emphasise this is her own work written when I wasn’t around, and unedited by me.
“I should also make it clear YoVille isn’t exclusively a Facebook application. It’s also on MySpace and for all I know, on other sites as well.”
Here’s what Emma wrote >>>a
Topics: Alchohol on YoVille / no age limit / pedophiles and people asking for “cam shows” / no chat filter / cyber bullying / Bikini bottoms are thongs / Gambling is encouraged.
YoVille is a world where you can buy new clothes for your player, purchase items for your apartment, go to work, and meet new friends,” says creator, Zynga. Sounds fun, and completly kid friendly right?
But to make a long story short, it’s anything BUT kid friendly! There is an extreme lack of a chat filter, allowing the “F Word” and others just as bad to be said freely, often in the presence of kids as young as 10!
Okay, so maybe they have a SMALL chat filter — IE if you say the full word (shit, for example) it gets blanked out as “yadda”. But if you put a space in between any of the letters (s hit) it gets through.
I think there should at least be an age limit for it (18+?), given how it’s easy for sexual predators to lure victims in, giving them YoMoney and items in return for this.
I have come across several people (usually men) as old as 43 trying to get girls as young as 13 to role play sexual acts via the game, and give so-called “cam shows”.
These basically consist of you giving them your cam adress, and stripping on cam.
I myself have been asked more times than I can count. Whenever I got asked, I basically told the person involved to go jump off a cliff.
Feel like getting drunk? Just head down to the all ages Sky Nightclub and grab a martini! Because they make it so FUN to get drunk!
Or feeling lucky? Just head down to the Casino!
There is no age limit for this game, making it possible for people of any age to be on.
In the Dating section of the Events page, there are usually sex parties. I once even saw one called “14 and under sx party”.
It’s a breeding ground for pedophiles and the like. I think that it’s best if kids don’t go on it at all.
I hope that by writing this, parents who have kids on YoVille will take a closer look into whether or not they REALLY want their kid on this.
Thanks for reading my rant
‘ … no gambling, no drinking ect … ‘
Back to the comment post from Alex, 13 .
He says “I play just about all the Zynga games (Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafè World ect.) ” continuing >>>
You can’t really interact with people on these games unless they’re your friends exept Yo Ville.
I do hope they filter out this game atleast a little more, (ex. one-piece swimming suits, no gambling, no drinking ect.) but with 1mil+ daily players if they fixed these it may cause a huge loss in players.
The biggest problem I’ve noticed is these dating parties. I too have seen this ages 14- only or whatever, thy people who do this are the most sickining creatures to roam this earth, pedofiles. This game should be able to access your facebook page and view your age and allow an age limit but even if it did the other problem remains, false ages.
So what I suggest is for adults to watch over your children and limit them to the internet there is a way to block certain pages.
Parents should have to be on guard for dangerous material pumped out by corporations such as Zynga, Alex?
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Shouldn’t anyone who’s making, marketing and promoting any kind of material aimed at children be vigourously and rigourously monitored by federal, provincial and state organisations tasked specifically with protecting children’s welfare? And before it’s turned loose online
Canada’s Stephen Harper government is throwing away literally billions of dollars on a three-day political love-in which’ll do no one, except the politicians involved, any good.
There are plenty of other examples of gross financial waste in this country, and the picture is the same everywhere else around the world.
Children are our most valuable resource. We should be spending our taxpayer dollars looking after them and protecting them instead of opening them up to corporations which answer only to their boards and shareholders.
I know. Never happen.
And I’d be surprised to find Zynga doesn’t already have access to user data.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting to see a Zynga ‘game’ aimed a ‘pre-schoolers’, the deliberately bland marketing buzzword for really little kids.
Jon Newton - p2pnet
… and identi.ca
Zynga’s partnership – Facebook, Zynga, 5-year partnership,May 19, 2010
VentureBeat - FarmVille, Mafia Wars maker Zynga is worth $3 billion, says trading site SharesPost, February 18, 2010
deeply evil gang – Zynga Mafia Wars spyware, December 5, 2009
does not give a rats a** – Zynga cookies vs EU Telecoms Reform, December 7, 2009
TechCrunch – Facebook And Zynga Enter Into Five Year Partnership, Expand Use Of Facebook Credits, May 18, 2010
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