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Top 5 Social Trends for Kids Revealed by Club Penguin Founder

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LONDON, December 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --


#1 Global Virtual World for Kids Identifies Five Social Trends 'Play-on', 'Supportmobbing', 'Kidanthropy', 'Kidsourcing'  and 'Digilinguists'

The co-founder of Disney's Club Penguin, Lane Merrifield, revealed in London today five trends that are defining the way kids play, socialise and express themselves online.  Gleaned from insights gained from the 150 million plus kids who have played in the snow capped virtual world, the trends have been instrumental in the development of new site features, such as phrase chat and friend finder, that offer Club Penguin fans new levels of interactive play and fun online.

Club Penguin is known around the globe for its unwavering commitment to providing a safe online experience that doesn't compromise creativity or fun.  The trends below have been spotted over the past six years by the 200 strong global moderation and community support teams and reveal kids online play behaviours:

Play-on: the boundaries between the real and virtual world have gone for kids, it's all just one big world of play.  Now kids arrange play dates in the playground, swapping their penguin names to 'Play-on' after school in Club Penguin.  The new friends functionality will allow kids to find their friends faster, teleporting them to their friends within Club Penguin, regardless of where they are playing from or what server they're on

Supportmobbing: as the flashmobbing phenomenon abounds in the real world, kids are holding their own virtual equivalents in Club Penguin to support good causes. Events such as the Japanese tsunami, New Zealand earthquake, 9/11 anniversary and breast cancer awareness weeks have seen Penguins 'Suportmobbing': gathering penguins together in-world wearing pink during breast cancer awareness week, dancing in red for Japan or creating 9/11 commemorative igloos

Kidanthropy:  Kids are moved to help causes and charities they care about.  Virtual charity initiatives in Club Penguin are having a huge impact in the real world as kids do their bit to help a variety of global causes.  Last year, 3.4 million kids donated more than 12 billion coins they'd earned playing games as part of Club Penguin's annual Coins for Change.  The coins donated served as votes, to determine how $1 million would be split between charitable causes.  Club Penguin's Art for Haiti initiative came as a result of kids asking Club Penguin how to help.

Kidsourcing: Club Penguin's customers support team receives more than 40,000 emails each week from kids with ideas and suggestions, which along with imaginative in-world play, provide a 'Kidsourced' treasure trove for the production team.  These have inspired, amongst others, the creation of popular features in-world including Ninja's, Puffles and the Jet Pack guy.  The myths and rumours kids perpetuate in Club Penguin have also become part of the game-play.  The popular myth that the iceberg can tip over still lives on today and sees hundreds of Penguins congregate on it each day to try.

Digilinguists: In the old days it was all about the annual French exchange but now kids are practising a language every day in the virtual world.  Club Penguin is available to play in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese and parents are now capitalising on their child's love of the game to allocate time playing in another language, fostering a new generation of 'Digilinguists'

Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios explains:

"6 years and 150million penguins have taught us an incredible amount about the way kids behave online. Just as they build their friendship groups through games in the playground, park or after school club, they socialise through play in Club Penguin.  Our new Friends feature will make it even easier for them to play and meet friends safely online and we can't wait to see what new trends emerge from the community as a result."

Club Penguin's expertise spans years of entertaining kids in an immersive, colourful and fun environment and through an ongoing commitment to safety providing parents peace of mind.  For more information visit http://www.clubpenguin.com

About Club Penguin

Club Penguin (http://www.clubpenguin.com), a product of The Walt Disney Company, is the #1 virtual world for children. Club Penguin works to maintain a fun and safe online entertainment experience by using filtering technology and live moderators. The award-winning virtual world of Club Penguin contains no third-party advertising and is free to use and enjoy, however a subscription membership provides access to additional features that enhance the play experience. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Club Penguin is headquartered in Brighton, United Kingdom, and can be played in English, Portuguese, French, German and Spanish.

The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: studio entertainment, media networks, consumer products, interactive media group, and parks and resorts.

TWDC has had a strong presence in the UK for more than 75 years and currently employs over 3,500 people. TWDC UK is a major film distributor with recent successes including '‘Toy Story 3' and '‘Alice in Wonderland'’. Both films set records across the region contributing to a global box office for each film in excess of $1 billion. Disney also works with local broadcast partners to bring compelling and creative branded and non-branded content to viewers via a variety of platforms, including the hit series ''Desperate Housewives' and ''Grey's Anatomy.'’ Disney Channel launched in the UK in 1995 and is the number one channel with girls (6-14) amongst children's pay-TV channels. The Disney Channel multiplex in the UK also includes Disney XD, Playhouse Disney and Disney Cinemagic. ESPN has made significant inroads into the UK market after establishing the "ESPN" channel in the UK, offering a wide range of sports, including the Barclays Premier League, Scottish Premier League, and the newly added Aviva Premiership Rugby matches. In 2008, TWDC announced its partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity focused on raising £10 million towards the hospital's redevelopment appeal. The Disney Appeal works across all of the Disney businesses to raise funds and provide unique and memorable experiences for patients and their families.


SOURCE Disney Club Penguin



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