Researchers are now experimenting with new video conferencing technology aimed at chidren - creating so called "virtual playdates," CNN reports.
According to CNN, Students at Georgia Tech University, partnering with Microsoft, say that while sometimes it's difficult for traditional video conferencing to keep kids engaged, they have developed two "add-ons" that showed promising results. One method allowed kids to hold a second video camera so they could better show off their toys to friends. Another method uses projectors to allow kids to share a "virtual playpen" where they can see their playmate's body and toys projected onto the floor.
Child psychologist Laurie Zelinger told the news service that while in-person play is still very important for child development, the online playdates were "better than texting and some of the other, more remote kinds of contact" and would allow children to stay in touch with friends who were sick or had moved out of the neighborhood.
Other online forums are also focusing on children and their growing familiarity with technology. Last month the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a new social networking site called Togetherville - aimed at kids ages six through 10 - was launching.