Facebook has become such a huge part of mainstream culture, it’s no surprise that younger ages want to connect with their friends online via social networks. Although it remains against Facebook’s terms of service and frankly the law for kids under the age of 13 to be using the site, how can younger ages safely interact in an online space like their older siblings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,Instagram etc.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents websites from collecting personal information about children who are under the age of 13 without their parents’ permission. Unless Facebook creates special family accounts or a special Facebook for preteens, there is a need and a market.
The immediate concerns about internet predator protection and what information goes out between interactions is adressed on all of the kid friendlysocial media sites we were able to find. A growing number of highly protected, kid-only sites offer viable alternatives to the unfiltered Internet world out there that allow children to exercise their social media muscles. Granted, it’s still just as important to educate kids about Internet safety and appropriate online behavior as it is to create technological barriers between them and unsafe situations.
Many children bypass this law, even on sites that enforce it, by simply adjusting their birthday. In a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 75% of seventh through 12th graders surveyed said they had a profile on a social media site.
Heres a few that stood out to us.
YourSphere is a kids-only social network whose goal centers on supporting positive interests and aspirations of those who use it. The free site serves as a place where members can join interest-based spheres to connect with those who have interests similar to theirs. Good citizenship is rewarded and bullying is not tolerated.
Dgamer.com access is free with purchase of certain Disney video games. Kids have avatars, can chat and send virtual gifts, but the priority is gaming via Nintendo DS. The basic chat function allows only prewritten phrases. Parental approval is required for more advanced chatting.
What’s What is fun, safe and secure. A webcam is required to log in with biometric facial recognition for added account security. Once logged in, kids can customize their MePage, watch videos, play games, take polls and earn MePoints.
Ohanarama takes children’s love of electronic games and uses it to build connections between children and their family through educationally rewarding games for grades 1-5 while also featuring social networking.
There’s a plethora of other kid friendly social networking sites to choose from and also those that would appeal to the family as a whole. WeShareMedia enjoys seeing the new generation of internet savvy kids. It is because of them, that marketing as a whole will be shifted even further towards social media. It’s no secret that online communication is rapidly becoming an essential life skill. Social Media experts in the making and we welcome them with open arms.