Social networks are typically for more mature users. A problem we see today is that kids under the age of 13 wish for the same independence their older siblings or parents have while using the Internet–they want to “be online” too.
This need presents a few challenges, one of which is that there are many risks when children freely browse and socialize on the web. How can a parent allow a child to use technology in a way without too many restrictions, but also with measures to ensure safety?
Thanks to six parent-approved social networks for kids—Disney’s Club Penguin, Fantage, Everloop, Moshi Monsters, your sphere, and Franktown Rocks—kids can participate in and have the same advantages of a social network without the risks.
These websites have “auto-complete” conversation features that prevent kids from sharing personal information or discuss inappropriate topics like alcohol and sex. Several of these networks don’t allow users to upload personal photos for avatars. Most require a thorough process of registration that includes parental consent and controls.
By taking these precautions, children can feel free to explore the safe websites and engage in fun activities that prepare them for more independence.
Fortunately, these types of sites attempt to keep kids safe and to provide a positive web experience. We applaud their efforts.
Russ Warner is President & CEO of ContentWatch, maker of the top-rated desktop and mobile web filter Net Nanny (www.netnanny.com). He is used as an expert source in the national press on a regular basis and speaks regularly on the topic of Internet Safety. Warner was most recently asked to speak at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on what parents can do to help their children navigate the digital age. Under Warner’s leadership, ContentWatch leads an ongoing Internet safety campaign and has conducted seminars for the local Utah media, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, and numerous schools.
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