BBC’s new community & safe people-less communities?
The BBC is getting ready to launch MyCBBC,
an online social network targeted to K6-12, an audience that is not served by competing sites all of which require members to be older, this April 2008. The BBC, a publicly funded broadcast service, is being disparaged for this move, according to This Is London, with critics saying that commercial online outlets are already providing like services and that the public broadcaster should focus on programming. The BBC says MyCBBC will be a safe site for kids, with full protection against predators, and users will not be able to make contact with strangers.
This should be interesting.
Are they using notable consultant help? (Yes, they are! Yay!) Hope so– because users who cannot chat with other users (because technically, they’re all strangers) kinda defeats the whole concept behind COMMUNITY, yeah?
That’s something I’m noticing about this trend of “we’ve got a community too! and it’s safe!”… and that trend is “taking the community out all together.” Strictly IRL friends is great– but to be honest, most of the cyberbullying comes from kids who know each other offline.
There’s this great new artsy community called Kerpoof. (Thanks for the spot, Anastasia!) I like the aesthetics, the concept, the usability, etc… but the community? Not really there. You have to know each other to form some sort of community. Nicey nice, sure, but again– cyberbullying usually comes from a kids’ reality. School chums gone bad, friendship circle power struggles, friends of friends, etc.
So, although I’m ALL ABOUT SAFETY, and think its nice for friends to be able to create & play with STRICTLY their IRL budz, I also think it’s important for SAFE social outreach… letting kids interact from any which direction under the guidance of a rock star staff. Sometimes even kids need escapism from their everyday.
UPDATE: Thanks to Catherine for clarifying what CBBC is doing (see the comments). As she points out– it’s NOT a social networking service in the sense of an overall online community, but a personalization tool that allows for small groups of IRL friends to interact. I look forward to seeing how it enhances the overall experience.
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