A few Points about Tween Social Networking

Is it that news media instinctively know that tweens need social-networking options of their own? That there’s a reason MySpace and other social-networking sites target users 14+? I’m seeing more and more reports around the country about a growing number of options for elementary- and middle-school-age children. For example, the Baltimore Sun zoomed in on Webkinz, where kids can create a virtual pet (maybe from a favorite real or stuffed furry friend), outfit and re-outfit, and create a virtual home for it. I just hope it isn’t encouraging consumerism too much – the Sun points out that the site “points out that ‘Everyone enjoys a little retail therapy’.” The Contra Costa Times profiles British Columbia-based ClubPenguin, where one California mom’s kids “aren’t allowed to become buddies with anyone they don’t know.” Here’s how this site and the family’s rule is good “training wheels” for social-networking sites: This mom’s kids “were mystified by the rule … [and] fretted they might hurt someone’s feelings by saying ‘no’.” Whatever the rule or negotiation a family has, it prompts an important conversation about how people can try to manipulate others (see “How social influencing works”).

BlogSafety Community: Growing interest in tween sites …


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