Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's On: Social Networks' War For Tweens

It seems as though social network membership is about to get as ubiquitous as cell phone ownership amongst tweens - are you ready?

Everywhere we turn, folks are talking about social networking sites for tweens - it's like tweens are the new "It" girl at the party. This week alone we've been asked to engage in conversations about Facebook usage amongst tweens (despite their stated policy of being 13 years old), Everloop officially launched, and today we learned of two social networks for tweens being re-launched:
  • Togetherville was JUST bought by Disney (and we do mean "just" - as in 3 hours ago) and 
  • Imbee, one of the original tween networks from "way back in 2006", has been brought back to life by new management
All of these networks offer clusters of interest-areas such as sports, science, books, etc. to engage like-minded tweens into virtual communities - Imbee calls these FanZones, Togetherville has Neighborhoods, and Everloop has, well, loops. All claim to be COPPA-compliant. And all of them are going to be competing for your tween's attention.

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JDFlaten said...

Yes, the topic of tweens and social networking is definitely buzzing! Wanted to mention a fantastic site worth checking out --

This established kids-only social site offers a plethora of fun and games while also helping kids learn how to conduct themselves online, rewards responsible online behavior, and even has teen ambassadors involved who mentor and demonstrate cyber-smarts. While everyone serving this age group is (I would hope!) concerned with online safety and being COPPA compliant, Yoursphere has made internet safety a focus from the very start. Yoursphere was founded by Mary Kay Hoal, an online children's safety advocate who's won national acclaim for her work.

Along with hundreds of games and contests, kids can build their own 'spheres' that let them express themselves creatively, connect with other kids, earn scholarship money, support non-profits and much more. And Yoursphere means it when it says it's "for kids, by kids." Members have meaningful input in what Yoursphere offers: along with teen ambassadors, there is young writers program (where contributors are paid to publish their writing) and a youth advisory board that recommends new features and functions. [Full disclosure: my company is currently working with Yoursphere but, as a mom, I've loved the site since my child became a member -- and huge fan -- long before we became involved with the company!]

Ms. Twixt said...

Thank you for your comment! We've heard of Yoursphere but haven't tried it out as yet. From what we learned initially, it isn't a free site - has that changed?

Chris Getman said...

Ms. Twixt,

The topic of how tweens engage with social media is definitely a hot topic. Though there's been lively discussion around what is the right age to join, the most important concern with most parents is likely safety. Are the places where their tweens spending time safe?

How seriously do tween social networking sites take safety? What's the signup process like? How do these sites ensure predators don't sign up? If this is a concern then check out http://www.WhatsWhat.Me.

WhatsWhat.Me is a safe, secure, “kids-only” social network for “tweens” ages 7-13 which uses patent-pending facial recognition technology, moderation and kid-friendly features to teach kids positive online behavior, Internet safety and related life skills. was built for kids under the age of 13 in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The WhatsWhat mission is to reach and proactively teach kids about positive online conduct in a safe, secure, kids-only environment, which we’ve developed carefully through technology, human moderation and enforceable community rules.

Kids will inevitably be join Facebook, with or without their parents knowledge, the real question is will they be prepared to be a responsible digital citizen when the time comes?

We'd love to hear your feedback on safety and security for tweens on social networking sites!


Ms. Twixt said...

Chris, Thank you for commenting on our post. We'll definitely check out the site and let you know our feedback.

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