Mashable just published the article, 5 Fun and Safe Social Networks for Children, on October 11, 2010. This post was in perfect timing for Cyber Security Awareness Month so we thought we would present our takes on it.
As the article mentioned, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents websites from collecting personal information about children under the age of 13 without parent’s permission.
Let’s face it though, many children- the ones who can read anyway- know a lot more about computers than we would expect. Although the websites say that they need parent’s permission what is stopping the child from bypassing that anyway?
Mashable even mentions that in its article, “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.”
Out of the five kid friendly social networking sites, here were our two favorites
Togetherville is the first social media site that Mashable gave notice to as an age-appropriate social network. Parents get to pick out their child’s friends and monitor the activity via their personal Facebook account. The website also encourages parent-child interaction which is important to monitor for children’s safety online.
What’s What is as Mashable stated, “The most secure social network for kids. Parents have to put in their credit card info for identity purposes and submit three mug shots of their children using a web cam. Sarah Kessler, the author of the article, reported that she submitted her mugshots and signed up as a seventh grader, within six hours, What’s What caught on and her profile was blocked. This site is perfect for parents who don’t want to worry about their 8 to 14 year old child all the time. Kids are able to make friends on the site with people they don’t know, however they can’t interact with kids outside their age group without parent permission.
Our previous article, Children’s Safety Online, explains ways of how to protect your child from harmful material online. Sometimes you can’t protect them from everything. That’s why staying involved or getting them interested in a site that is appropriate is important.