How to Manage a Kid-Safe Online Community - dummies

How to Manage a Kid-Safe Online Community

By Deborah Ng

Though it’s up to parents to teach online safety to their children, the onus is on the online community manager to provide an experience for children that’s fun, educational, safe, and appropriate. Kids aren’t thinking about ominous strangers lurking in the shadows to find a vulnerable child to manipulate, and they’re certainly not thinking that the 8-year-old they think they’re talking to online might be a 40-year-old predator.

The burden of creating a place where unsavory types are unwelcome and can’t gain entry is up to the creators and managers of the various online communities. Fortunately, most kids’ communities are fun, educational, and safe because those in charge have strict measures in place.

Most elementary-school students are online more for playing games and participating in activities than for chatting. There are different types of interaction, and they shouldn’t be discouraged, but make no mistake, they’re not there to chat. Instead, they like to explore different games and experiment with avatars (pictures used to represent the members because using their own photographs is frowned upon).

Tweens (10- to 12-year olds), on the other hand, do have more opportunities to chat, and that interaction should be strictly monitored.

Children’s social networks aren’t as easy to sign up for as grownup communities are, and the interaction that occurs is different. As managers for these types of online communities, you’re presented with a different set of challenges.