Earlier this week we found out that 20,000 kids are banned from Facebook every day after trying to sign up for an account. Others, however, lie about their age in order to get access, which can set them up for privacy or safety issues.
If your tot or tween has been begging for the ability to update her status, there are many safe, kid-specific social networks to choose from. These sites follow the regulations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which regulates how much personal information sites can ask from children, among other things. Check out the list of the top social networking sites for kids after the break!
- Everloop: Recently launched, Everloop calls itself a "social looping platform" because it creates a "privacy loop around kids' connections." Kids can add friends and engage with other kids online, but always under the watchful eye of their parents, who have their own monitoring account. Cost: free. Ages: tweens.
- Imbee: Touting itself as a place for the "young, hip, and trendy," Imbee requires a credit card authorized-parent account before kids can sign up. Afterward, kids can join fanzones or create groups with their friends. Cost: free ($1 credit card verification charge). Ages: tweens.
- Togetherville: Families can make online neighborhoods centered on their child, so the only adults he can interact with are ones who are in your approved social network. Once in the neighborhood, they can play games, watch videos, and update their status with preapproved phrases. Cost: free (1 cent credit card verification charge). Ages: 6-10.
- Yoursphere: This site, which requires parental approval for 12 and under, lets your children create "spheres" and personal blogs based on interests such as sports, TV shows, and online games. Cost: free. Ages: 18 and under.
- Kidzworld: Among celeb news, advice columns, games, and advertisements is the KW Zone, the social networking part of the site, with blogs, boards, and other ways to connect with friends. Cost: free. Ages: grades four-nine.
- Whatswhat.me: This site features the same privacy and security protection of the others, and then some. It requires children use a webcam so they can log in with its facial recognition technology and only allows kids to interact with others in their grade level. Cost: $4/month or $30/year. Ages: 7-13.
- Scuttlepad: After parents create a profile, kids can start personalizing with photos (which must be approved by the site) and adding friends. The status update feature is even educational: children choose words from a list to create an update while learning about sentence structure. Cost: free. Ages: 6-11.