Facebook for Kids Under 10

Friday, 21 May 2010
New York Times photo

I'm reporting on timely, relevant stories at work so it just makes sense for me to blog about it.  Today's report was on Togetherville.com a site that's similar to Facebook, it's just for kids under the age of 10. 

What do you think?  I was especially interested to hear from parents on this.  My FB friends helped me out with feedback and here's some of the comments:

I don't see a problem with it but would have to play with it and monitor it to be sure. My girls have done the pre-set chat before on Webkinz, which has a community section. And it would be good to teach them how to be safe on social networks before letting them get a real Facebook account.

I think it is a bad idea!!! -Elizabeth

Ugh. Hooking the kids early, I see. Shouldn't they be doing something other than maintaining their social lives? Whatever happened to play dates?!  -Amber

Generation Z is just naturally digital native community. For these kids, social media is not an optional form of communication or entertainment like it has been for many of us parents.  -Patty

I had a pen pal growing up. Maybe this is the modern age of pen pals? Still I wish kids would still write letters and make a trip to the post office. It's fun!  -Adrian

As a teacher and a parent, this is not appropriate. There are too many bad people in the world who want to hurt kids.  -Mary Katherine

There were many other thoughtful comments too which led me to believe social media is still certainly a talker.  My opinion?  I'm not a parent and who knows if I'll ever be one but I think it's a great idea.  Why not have a forum where I can sign up with my kid and experience social networking with them before they're turned lose to do it on their own.  Interaction online is the norm now days even for kids so why not monitor it?

The major down side I see to this - marketing and advertising.  The site will fuction as a money maker.  It will be sponsored, it will somehow generate ad dollars and it will mold children's minds to the message of the day.  Don't think that message won't include the products and trends the makers of Togetherville want the kids and adults to see.

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