Ten Social Networks for Kids
With social media infiltrating nearly every aspect of the Internet, it’s no surprise that you can find social networks created specifically for children. These sites mimic adult platforms, but they offer more privacy options and kid-friendly themes.
You should visit each site and get to know its features before allowing your children to play on their own. Pay close attention to how each site protects privacy. Look for sites that adhere to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which regulates the types of information online sites can collect from children. Finally, find out how other users may interact with your child.
Perhaps the most well-known of the social networks for kids, Disney’s Club Penguin is a massively multiplayer online game site for children. The game play is moderated at all times, and parental consent is required before children can join the site. Children may play at Club Penguin for free or upgrade to membership, which begins at $5 per month and offers extra features.
Children need their parents’ e-mail address to create an account at Club Penguin.
To activate a new account, parents click an activation code that arrives by e-mail, where you can set a chat option for your child and create password protected parental access.
ScuttlePad is a free social networking site designed for kids ages 6 to 11. Users can upload photos and update their status, but status updates and comments can include words only from an approved list. Images uploaded are all reviewed before they may appear on the user’s account. ScuttlePad teaches kids the basics of social networking but doesn’t have any extra games, activities, or applications.
webkinz is one of the first online worlds created primarily for children. The site provides an online code with every stuffed animal that webkinz has sold. Kids can type these codes into the online site to play with the virtual version of their stuffed animal.
This site includes a Parents Area where parents can manage their children’s use of chat, limit time spent on the site, and turn off third-party advertisements. There are also opportunities to purchase virtual goods.
This platform is more than just a social networking tool. YourCause allows kids to raise money for a favorite charity while Friending other account holders, sending e-mail, and posting testimonials. This site is free for a basic account. Account holders must be 13 years old and may choose from a list of pre-approved nonprofits. The user creates a page and asks people to visit and make charitable donations.
Sweety High is a social network for girls age 10 and older. All members younger than 13 must have parent-verified accounts and parents of those users are given parent access. This site is carefully moderated with strong privacy settings. Member profiles are visible to member friends only. Site themes rely heavily on style, fashion, and celebrity.
Parent tools on Sweety High encourage parents to help their daughters become “Savvy Sweeties.” by talking to your daughter about issues like keeping private information private and bullying. Nonmembers cannot access member information.
This social networking site includes a virtual world where kids can play games, participate in shared interest “spheres,” write their own blog, and earn credits for positive interactions. Yoursphere members that positively contribute to the community can redeem credits in the Gift Gallery.
Yoursphere strictly adheres to its membership rules and even compares account requests against a database of registered sex offenders. The staff at Yoursphere has teens who help ensure that the content is relevant to its teen users, and includes a Law Enforcement Task Force.
Additionally, Yoursphere includes a resource site for parents.
Fanlala is a social media platform for kids ages 8 to 14 with a focus on tween entertainment and popular culture. Fanlala creates its own web-based shows and specials, but account holders may also upload photos and videos, conduct non-moderated chat with other account-holding friends, and join groups.
Only parents can create a Fanlala account for a child. You also are in charge of the security settings. Fanlala is free but requires a $1 parental credit card verification.
giantHello is a social network for tweens and teens patterned off Facebook with a heavy focus on gaming. Friending another member allows account holders to send private messages to that user and see the content that they’ve created.
To “Friend” another account holder on giantHello, users must e-mail their friends or physically print an invitation code. Accounts must be verified by parents.
The games section of the site is available to the public without a required registration. This section includes advertisements but also questionable content, such as games with violent and sexual themes. Registered users cannot be contacted by or contact strangers.
Everloop was designed specifically for kids ages 8 to 13 although kids 8 to 15 may join. Account holders create a custom profile, including changeable background images, color schemes, and stickers. Users can interact through instant messaging and chats within their approved loops.
The site contains the Everloop Arcade that contains more than 1,500 games. Everloop contains “looping” technology, which allows kids to locate what interests them, such as sports or fan groups, and then share those interests by joining loops. They can also share photos and information. Parents must give their approval for kids to join a loop.
Everloop promises to filter chats, posts, and uploaded videos and photos. Kids can also flag upsetting or bothersome site content.
Jabbersmack calls itself a “social entertainment network” and provides branded content and entertainment pages as well as streaming content access. The site allows kids to interact with friends and play social games. This site is open for all ages, but kids younger than 13 must have parent approval. Parents monitor their child’s account via a parent account.
Content is presented through Jabbersmack only after being filtered. Pages created by account holders under 13 are never visible to strangers.