Is the 'New Club Penguin' Game Safe? Concerns for Child Safety Remain

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Jan. 25 2024, Published 5:01 p.m. ET

The siren song of video game nostalgia is a powerful one, as many '90s and early-2000s babies can attest, with a virtually limitless Club Penguin-sized hole left unfulfilled in many former players' hearts since the OG shut down in 2017 due in part to the vociferous feedback from disgruntled parents and "toxic" behavior from many players, per The BBC.

Enter New Club Penguin as the latest attempt at recapturing the magic of the profitable former Disney online game that had hundreds of millions of players, per Inside The Magic.

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Let's explore one of the latest in a long line of spiritual successors, New Club Penguin, and assess how safe it is for the next generation of players.

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Is 'New Club Penguin' safe?

Eulogies had been written and fan-made recreations of Club Penguin have come and gone, per The Standard, some of which were created to overcome social isolation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All the while, players with nefarious intentions contributed to sexually inappropriate behavior towards the majority of each iteration's young player base, buoyed by rampant antisemitism, racism, and online bullying, per The BBC.

All of this has parents of Gen Z and some Gen Alpha players understandably concerned about the appropriateness of New Club Penguin for their children.

Undeterred by legal action under copyright law taken against past recreations, like the popular Club Penguin: Rewritten, per Slate, New Club Penguin continues to operate with unabashed confidence. In fact, after Rewritten closed, New Club Penguin doubled down on its commitment to its ever-increasing player base.

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A May 2020 report from The BBC, during which reporters set up multiple accounts in various languages on one Club Penguin clone platform that has since been shut down, found troubling instances of sexually-inappropriate behavior. "Players were engaging in 'penguin e-sex,' sending and receiving explicit messages," according to the outlet.

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To its credit, NewCP offers a help page which features a parents portal, a link to four rules all players must abide by, as well as a list of online safety tips.

It should be noted that the former Club Penguin also had a list of rules, as have other clones past and present, which does not preclude players from continuing explicit chats and engaging in age-inappropriate behavior via Discord or, per The BBC, setting up private Zoom meetings with one another.

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Is Club Penguin back?

No, the original Club Penguin is not back. However, the relative ease with which tech-savvy Club Penguin fans can replicate the game's online world means that clones will likely continue in perpetuity. Understandably, future generations of players may mistakenly assume that each new version of the game is an official, Disney-sponsored remake.

NewCP and others like it are just fan-made replications of Club Penguin and often will say so in a small disclaimer at the bottom of the home page, as NewCP has done.

Spurred to action when children began engaging in online learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice developed internet safety tips for children and parents that both parties are encouraged to review before engaging in online activities.

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