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INSAFE , a European network of awareness centers advocating internet safety to young people is holding the 8th Safer Internet Day. Different activities in all 60 countries of the European Union and the United States are organized to spread the word about the event slogan for this year: “It’s more than a game, it’s your life”

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The main topic for this international event is about “virtual lives”. This includes all types of online games from simple Java games to massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). They have published on the INSAFE site the current statistical information which concerns online games around the world. Your children might be counted in these facts.

  • Gamers spend on average 8 hours weekly playing online.
  • Young people sleep 2 to 3 hours less per night than 10 years ago.
  • In January 2010, 18 million accounts were registered on Second Life.
  • Facebook reports more than 500 million active users.
  • Users spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month.
  • 13 million players of World of Warcraft (WoW), the world’s largest MMORPG.
  • MMORPGs generated $1.5 billion in subscription revenues worldwide in 2008, forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2012.
  • Up to 250,000 players are simultaneously online on WoW.
  • Transactions and sales of virtual goods in virtual worlds were estimated at $18 billion in  2009.

-quoted from the Safer Internet Day 2011 toolkit

The concern lies on the thin line between the real life and virtual life. Young people today can easily use online games to scape their frustrations of the reality behind usernames, 3D avatars and virtual characters. While these companies earn billions of dollars a year, online gamers are subjected into a “play at your own risk” policy. Young people must bear in mind that spending more hours in online games affects their lives in general -hence the slogan.

Web Safety PH is doing its share in this advocacy thru this blog and it’s Watcha Webtrap! roadshows -for the sake of our young generation. Several campaigns are in the pipeline in partnership with other organizations.

Here in Web Safety PH, we believe we can make this virtual world a safer place to live in. Who knows, next year, we may have a Safer Internet Day in PH.

Have a Safer Internet Day to All.