[Correction: Upon reviewing my notes, I overstated the ability of two users determining their real-life locations by playing with "Wizard 101"'s security restrictions. I observed two users trying to skate around the system, but neither seemed to learn much about the location of the other. I regret the error.]
Even though kid-friendly MMO "Wizard 101" has safety precautions in place to protect its biggest user base, those same users are constantly trying to get around them.
During an early morning demo yesterday, I was being shown some examples of what kids can and cannot say to each other in "Wizard 101."
To chat in "Wizard 101," you must be over the age of 13. If you're younger, you're restricted to preset chat options and emoticon gesturing. But if you're over 13, you can chat with others. One thing you can't do, however, is say what state you're from.
The game blocks people from listing states, for fear of children accidentally revealing where they live. But the "Wizard 101" kids are smart, and I saw that in action. Two users attempted to describe where they lived, with one listing a state around them, the other requesting a state nick name. "Wizard 101" restrictions meant they had to be careful about what they asked, but since I didn't see how it ended, I don't know how close they got.
The "Wizard 101" developer with me simply sighed and chuckled.