Dodgeball.com gives me an ulcer.

Oh the rage of stalker-sites that allow web surfers to interact with friends/strangers via cell phones. Twitter, AIM, etc. SXSW was Twitter’s shining moment of awesomeness, only to get lame quite quickly when you realized how annoying it is to consistently get messages like “I’m eating meatloaf” from randoms (I was hooked up to the SXSW group). Naturally, you can turn off the texting function. On the happy side– as a web department we’re having a blast with Twitter– great for Haikus.

Dodgeball is quite different. Owned by Google, you can sign up with your google account (which doesn’t ask for an age). Dodgeball is another one of those cell phone meets Internet programs, but with the creepy GPS functions (which I can’t stand). So– not only can 11-year-olds join dodgeball.com, but they can put their phone number in it (you know, those cell phones mom & dad are passing out like candy). PLUS kids add their pictures, speak freely (unmonitored), make friends with complete strangers, and THE BIG ONE: find random members of dodgeball.com and “Crush” on them.  Yep, anyone can go trolling through dodgeball.com, find some stranger they find “appealing.”  By clicking a button, you can let them know you think they’re hot, and they’ll go in your “crush” folder.  If the crush is interested too, the two can connect, and use the GPS function to see within 10 blocks of where they live/hang out/etc… AHHHHH! So– happy days for all those creeps from “To Catch a Predator”, this offers up easy pickin’s!!

NO WHERE in any of their policies does it say ANYTHING about U13 & safety.

If you look at the actual webpage itself, the design has such a useful tone to it (dodgeball = elementary game; kid getting hit in the face by dodge ball logo = young comic-y tone; crushes & vocab = kid friendly).

How is this possible? Why is it that companies are turning a BLIND EYE to the safety of their communities? SHAME ON THEM. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why these companies are offering up such easy options for kid-stalking? Why are they not placing functions that can check ages of their audience? How is that legal? How is that morally acceptible? Why, Google, why?

It’s like this: A kid buys a ticket to a theme park (google), the kid finds a themed pub (dodgeball), the pub doesn’t check the kid’s ID, the kid finds an opportunity to pass out private info and have conversations with strangers, the pub is ignorant and allows the kid to also play in the “singles” game (Crush feature).

Am I the ONLY one that sees that as INCREDIBLY wrong?!

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  1. April 16, 2007 at 7:12 pm

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