Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, online community, tween, web business

GeekDad interview

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My colleague, Bill Shribman over at WGBH, interviewed me for GeekDad.com recently.
Here’s a snippet:

You threw my daughter out of Animal Jam when she was making plans to meet a friend for lunch, which I thought was a pretty impressive catch. She thought she had mistyped “duck.” What other kinds of behaviors or activities have you interrupted?

Thanks – I always love it when we can turn a discipline from the game into a positive parent interaction. As far as other behaviors/activities, where do I start? Obviously, for COPPA compliance, players trying to give out personal information is a very high priority – that’s addresses, emails, and phone numbers – but even Skype and other instant messaging usernames, FaceTime handles, and any other methods where players would be communicating outside of the game and potentially sharing that personal info.

While there is no law around it (which most parents are surprised to learn) we are also very diligent regarding inappropriate behavior and conversations, including cyber dating, drugs/alcohol, violence, vulgar language, cyberbullying and anything else we have deemed inappropriate to be associated with our brand and within the younger demographic we attract.

Read more here: At Least 17 Reasons Why Your Kid May Be Playing Animal Jam

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Posted in kids, online community, tween

Safer Internet day 2014

My dear friend and awe-inspiring colleague, Anne Collier from ConnectSafely.org, recently spearheaded the US Safer Internet Day event.  Along with a fun campaign called One Good Thing, where people sent in their multimedia good deeds or promises to help make the Internet a better place, she helped host an event in DC to celebrate the initiative.

And they taped it (yay!).  Here’s one of the videos, but check out the whole days coverage at their site.

Yep, that’s my big blonde head in the foreground of the audience… grumble…

Posted in gaming, kids, web business

New AJ Parent Connection video

Here’s our newest Animal Jam Parent Connection video, detailing some of the ways my staff works to makes sure we are keeping all of our players safe, while encouraging an in-game culture of appropriate behavior.

(Don’t you just love the thumbnails Youtube chooses for you? 😐 )

Posted in Animal Jam, kids, Safety/Privacy

Safer Internet Day!

Yeah, I know.  First, Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) and now Safer Internet Day?  How many trumped up days do my peers need to feel good and noticed?  (The answer is infinite – we are passionate, insatiable service providers, so we will take whatever we can get.)

That said – the twitterspheres I pay attention to were all over Safer Internet Day yesterday.  For really great resources, run a twitter search on #SaferInternetDay or #SID2013.

At Animal Jam, we launched a new Parent Video series that we are calling Animal Jam Parent Connection.  We will go through tips for frequent issues parents deal with and review some of the offerings we have at Animal Jam.  This first one focuses on teaching good password habits.

I host the first, and my aversion to myself being videoed aside…, I think it came out ok.  Let me know what you think and if you have ideas of other topics we should cover, like parent controls, bullying, naiveté, safe chat habits, etc  🙂

Posted in gaming, kids, online community, Safety/Privacy, virtual worlds

Dir of Community Engagement for National Geographic’s Animal Jam

It’s true!  I got a fantastic opportunity to work with an insanely talented team of designers on one of the country’s most beloved brands, National Geographic.  The game is out this summer and it’s BEAUTIFUL.  So excited, stay tuned for updates.  😀

Joi Podgorny Joins National Geographic’s Animal Jam Team

Online Child Safety Veteran to Lead Community Engagement in New Virtual World

Washington, DC and Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) January 25, 2010 — Smart Bomb Interactive announced today that Joi Podgorny has joined the company as the Director of Community Engagement for National Geographic’s Animal Jam, an online virtual world for kids 5-9 launching in the summer of 2010. In her new role, Podgorny will architect and oversee all aspects of community management for Animal Jam, with the goal of creating an online destination that is an industry leader in child safety, parental engagement, and pure fun.

“This team and this project are a perfect fit for me,” said Podgorny. “Kids who love animals are going to be immersed in a fascinating virtual world of unprecedented depth, and they’ll be part of an online community that parents can feel good about letting their children explore. “

Podgorny is considered one of the industry’s foremost experts in online community and children’s marketing, specifically in the under-13-year-old demographics. Her management and production accomplishments range across six international children’s entertainment properties. She most recently served as Head of Community for Mind Candy, where she oversaw phenomenal growth in the user community of moshimonsters.com. She is a frequent contributor to conferences and forums on online child safety and digital engagement with children.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/01/prweb3503254.htm