Children’s virtual world moderator

Simon Pollard keeps order on the Club Penguin website

Simon Pollard, Club Penguin

I manage a team of moderators for Club Penguin. It involves making sure the kids are having fun on the website while ensuring it is as safe as possible. Each moderator has their own penguin character; we log in just as a child would, and the idea is to blend in and observe what is going on.

We watch for behaviour like bullying. Automatic filtering software will pick up a large number of things but children’s language, for example, changes all the time and bullying can take many forms – it could be the case of someone following another player around the site, which you would not pick up unless you were watching.

We work in partnership with Childnet and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, who provide training for us. If we feel a child is at risk we contact local law enforcement officers. Mostly, however, it is cases of bullying and occasionally a child expresses suicidal thoughts. These are usually dealt with by making the parents aware. We can also issue temporary or permanent bans for players.

Club Penguin has 200 moderators worldwide. It tends to be a young team, many of whom previously worked in youth clubs or nurseries.

One of the nice things is we get a great number of requests from kids wanting to be moderators for Club Penguin when they grow up – asking how old they need to be and what they need to do to become one.

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