Kajeet’s new buddy, Whyville: Tween Networking Beyond

Whyville, the tween/teen targeted online social network, has partnered with kajeet, the new tween-aimed pay-as-you-go mobile phone service, to offer its members the ability to use customizable chats functions through kajeet Chat Factory. Additionally, kajeet is offering an online Friend Finder service that Whyville members can use to contact one another with a personal invitation to meet and hang out at a destination within Whyville.

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis – Cyn Kids 4/26/07

What a funny/ideal partnership between whyville (tween social network) and Kajeet (tween phone/service).  Kajeet has offered new functions to the whyville chat arena to spice up the tweens chatting life (visually)– S.S. Marketing ahoy!  Good idea. 🙂

Here is a definition of Kajeet from a Whyville worker.

Here is a review by a Whyvillian based on the Kajeet Chat Factory found on Whyville (giving both good/bad reviews). 

Now on to my ramble about accessing social networks via a cell phone (as sparked by the idea of Kajeet– a tween phone company, and Whyville– a social networking company linking up.  I’m not saying they’re doing this now, it just seems like a natural progression based on such a deal):

Do tweens really need to have their fingertips in online social networking at any given moment, like they would if a phone service provided easy access to particular social networks??

I fear this. Instead of hanging out with the family at Grandma’s and listening to her stories, BobbyJoe will be talking to his friends on his tween cell phone. Instead of watching & supporting her teammates play soccer on the pitch, DarlaJane is sitting on the bench surfing her friends in some online community. <— Yes those are silly instances that probably won’t (fingers crossed) happen for some time… but we need to at least ACKNOWLEDGE that these are possibilities. The only people who can really put limitations & controls over kids are parents.

Too much of a good thing is never good. But don’t tell a kid that. There’s nothing wrong with a little desire for kids… gives them something to work toward.

My Grandfather wasn’t really one of those “cuddlemuffin” Grandpa’s my friends had. When we went to his place in Chicago, there wasn’t anything fun for kids/tweens to do. He didn’t really have TV– just three black & white channels. Every time, we would end up coloring newspapers with pens & pencils while Mom, Dad, Gramps, etc sat around the table talking. We may not have been participating in the conversations, and were probably quite bored, but MAN– am I glad I was there. My ears were open– I heard stories that gave me some sort of subconcious identity to my family. Understanding WHY my grumpy grandpa was so different than the cuddlemuffin grandpas– and somehow I learned how to appreciate that. Today, the man is my hero. I can’t help but wonder if I would still feel that way if I had been physically present but mentally elsewhere (i.e. the web).

The weird thing about this is– yes, I’m an online community manager who supports the exciting world of imagination and multicultural friendships that is gained through online communities for kids/tweens/teens. And as I try to build this career, enjoying all the amazing new opportunities popping up for kids… I can’t help but notice the power– not empowerment– that kids are wielding. I look forward to the day that parents truly understand what’s available to their children on the web– both bad and good. Because that would mean that I can concentrate on my job–building & sustaining awesome communities & safety & imagination empowerment through communication and brand evangelism.

In the world of secret structure for kids (we work in the shadows to ensure everlasting daylight for youth):
Moderation = parents. Moderators = online communities.

What sayest thou? Agree? Disagree? Cookie?

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  1. rob fekete
    April 27, 2007 at 4:56 am

    MMMMM. you should read the release. they don’t use the phone on the site. Which makes your whole arguement flawed. Try reading slower next time and you’ll see what is goin on:)

  2. April 27, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for that advice, Rob. I will try and find that “release” you’re speaking of…

    “Kajeet is offering an online Friend Finder service that Whyville members can use to contact one another with a personal invitation to meet and hang out at a destination within Whyville.” So… if you’re saying that “they don’t use the phone on the site” do they magically connect to whyville’s database of members? Or perhaps you’re saying that by having Kajeet, they get access to certain elements on Whyville when they’re at home on the computer? Sounds reasonable. Less-exciting for kids, but reasonable. Again, I shall check this out further.

    Regardless, my “argument” will be a valid one sooner or later. Why? Because Technology & Phones are the big thing. We are a remote control nation– and in some cases, world. Look at all the attachments they’ve snapped into our phones already. As it is now you can access youtube & myspace (among others) specifically from your phone, thanks to lucrative deals. Luckily, at this time, these people aren’t really targeting kids. A deal between Whyville & Kajeet could very well turn peoples eyes to the HUGE market that tweens & teens have become. It would make sense that sooner or later, indeed, such a deal between a social networking site for tweens and a phone company for tweens might “come together” and create an online program where you can reach your particular-community friends from any point & and any time.

    And if you’ll notice, most of my arguement is speculative regarding the future of kids, social networking, and phones is about what happens if we give them too much of a good thing? New technology is exciting and carries with it a WORLD of opportunity… but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look forward and acknowledge the less attractive aspects & possibilities. Might as well be prepared for all sides. 🙂

  3. November 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Kajeet has to balance making the phone and its services attractive enough to kids to want it, while touting its safety features to appeal to the “Moms”, who may not be so thrilled with the friend finder feature.

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