Once again, I want to offer a big thank you to Neil and the crew of Total Education Network for having me on today! As promised, here are a few tips – and some alternative social sites just for kids – to help parents navigate their children through the world of Social Media!
1. Trust, but verify. There is nothing wrong with allowing children to have freedoms, but make sure you are still holding the reins.
2. Be open and honest – share and inform your child. Unlike those who are blissfully ignorant about the dangers of the digital space, you know that there are ways to protect your child. So, help them protect themselves, too!
3. We learn with what we see – and this is especially true for children. If you behave in a manner that is rude, inappropriate or too forthcoming, you are teaching your child to do the same… and putting them at risk. So, when you’re setting guidelines, make sure that they are applicable to the whole family’s behavior – rather than singling out your son or daughter.
Still not ready to let your child join you on Facebook or Twitter? There are many sites out there set in place just for children. Here are a few that we recommend:
To sign up for ScuttlePad, kids provide their birthday, favorite color, first name, and parent’s e-mail address, and they’re not allowed on the site until their parents approve it. Once logged in, they’re free to post messages, make friends, upload photos, and make comments — but with a catch. All comments on the site need to follow a given format and use a given set of words. Messages are composed within the framework, “I’m click, click, click,” with each click leading to a choice of words. Photos are manually approved by ScuttlePad, and only first names are used on the site.
– GrockIt (http://www.grockit.com) calls themselves “like Facebook for learning.” Students can use Grockit to prepare for AP, SATs, ACTs, GREs, GMAT, and LSAT standardized tests, or to get ahead in High School Math and English with the Grockit Online Academy. Coming in fall 2011, Grockit will offer support for IIM CAT testers as well.
Unlike ScuttlePad, there is a cost to GrockIt – you can try it for free, but the Premium Accounts are $29.99/mo. which makes this an affordable option for students who need a little extra boost.
– Everloop (http://www.everloop.com) has some pretty impressive names (ex-Disney execs!) and some big financial backing. The site allows children under 13 to “develop their creative skills by customizing their own user profiles, connect with friends and stay productive by choosing from over 1,500 games to entertain themselves.” As a harmless alternative to cyberbullying, the site allows users to trick one another with “Goobs,” and promotes a totally adult-free atmosphere.
Everloop IS free, and they’re pretty diligent about security. See more details on their Parents page.