When I was a teen, the mall was the hangout of choice for girls my age. Not so much for tween and teen girls today. Thanks to the Internet, hanging out with others who have similar interests is no longer limited to a geographic location.
So here’s the thing about the World Wide Web…it’s worldwide! And we want to keep our girls safe! That is a challenge when we CAN see faces and verify that people are good people and are who they say they are. How are we supposed to do that in an online environment where we can’t and identities become blurred?
Thankfully, we as parents have some help to guide us as we navigate through this uncharted terrain. That help comes in the form of regulation. Now I know that thought can incur some eye rolling but regulation is a good start. The very best sites for kids between the ages of 7 and 13 adhere to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) guidelines. It limits how much personal information the site can ask for from children 13 and under. Most of these sites require a parental account or at least, a one-time parent verification via credit card. Parental awareness and control plays a huge role in the online safety of a child.
That aside, what are safe but fun online social networking sites for teens and tweens where parents can oversee the process? Check out the short list below to see what fits your child’s interests and family values.
- giantHello – social media gaming with the look and feel of Facebook. Here you can friend, private message, join group, upload pic, etc. Gaming is similar to Facebook.
- Imbee – trendy site with a focus on pop/celeb media and entertainment, imbee Radio, web series and specials, chat room, upload capabilities, and groups.
- Kidsocial – very cool site with branded entertainment, connectivity capabilities, gaming, and filtered streaming.
- KidzVuz – kids can share reviews via integrated webcam, connectivity with anonymity option. Designed for 13 and under; perfect for 8-to-10-year-olds.
- Scuttlepad – social media starter for 6-to-10-year-olds.
- WhatsWhat.me – the most secure of the sites with required webcam to sign in via facial recognition technology that is checked by a real person at every login. Kids can only hang out with others in their same grade. Social media, messaging, friending, etc. There is a fee for using the site ($4 monthly/$30 yearly). Geared toward 7-to-13-year-olds.
Do you have any sites you’d add to this list?