4 Safe Social Networking Sites for Kids
With Facebook becoming such a huge part of mainstream culture, it’s no surprise that younger ages want to connect with their friends online via social networks too. Since it’s against Facebook’s terms of service (and frankly against 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? How do you keep kids safe while teaching them about digital citizenship when there’s a world of risk out there?
Fortunately there are a number of great sites that allow tweens and teens to exercise their social networking skills safely but with any new website, please take a look at the. before turning your children loose to make sure the content is age appropriate and your kids are able to navigate them.
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 on YourSphere. Founder and President, Mary Kay Hoal, is a mother of 5 who is passionate about online safety issues. Last year she founded The Yoursphere Media Foundation and Coalition for Internet Safety Education and Reform to empower children and their families through education and solutions to help them live a healthy and happy digital life.
KidzVuz is a site geared towards tweens ages 7-12 who want to share their opinions through video in a safe way that doesn’t compromise their identity or online safety or market to them. Kids can create or watch video reviews on technology, toys, games, movies, television, books, magazines, food, sports, pets, travel, or obsessions through this ad-free site. Founders Rebecca Levey and Nancy Friedman are parents, social media experts, and champions of keeping kids safe online and have done a fantastic job creating this safe space for budding vloggers.
Fooz Kids is a new application that allows parents to control their child’s exploration of the internet in an age appropriate way. It it features social networking but parents are able to use the Parental Dashboard to limit contact to a trusted network of pre-approved friends for social networking. Fooz Kids also provides a list of recommended websites based on age that can be edited by through the Parental Dashboard.
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. Rather than giving into the pressure of starting a Facebook account for your child under the age of 13, use the site’s social networking features to talk about online safety aspects of social networking. For example, chat features are available for family members that parents individually approve. Ohanarama also helps children reinforce math and language skills by playing fun, age-appropriate games for single or multiple players.