Penguin Life: A Case Study of One Tween’s Experiences inside Club Penguin

Diana Burley

Abstract


Although we are increasingly aware of what young people do online and perhaps even why they do it, we are less clear about how particular affordances of an online environment enables identity formation. Accordingly, this case study sought to explore how one tween’s experience in Club Penguin influenced the development of her social identity and community relationships. Reflecting on her experiences, we draw 3 tentative conclusions. First, because Club Penguin enables tweens to change typically static elements of their persona, the scope of generally accepted identifiers is broadened while the perceived boundaries between them is reduced. Second, the integration of virtual and physical spaces further complicates the social interactions that inform tween identity. Third, whereas many adult participants in virtual worlds use their participation as an opportunity to deconstruct the various aspects of their personality (Suler, 2002), tweens may use the virtual environment as an integration space.

Keywords


tween, virtual world, Club Penguin, identity

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org