Parents have a lot to worry about when their kids want to start using the internet. With all the scams and creepy people out there, most parents dread the day their children ask for permission to join Facebook.
While you can change privacy settings and limit who can find your children on some social sites, you never really know what they are doing or who they are talking to and about what. Recently a co-worker told me about a way she helps shelter her kids while still letting them use Facebook. She uses a site called Togetherville.
You will need a Facebook account of your own to start. You will need to grant Togetherville access to your Facebook account as an application.
The next step is to create an account for your child. This is only a few steps; first name, username and password.
Once you have an account setup for the both of you, its time to add some information about your child. You can add in what school they go to, their gender, birthday, add a picture and a few other things.
If you choose to, you can send invites to people you know and are okay with your kids talking to.
How your child is protected
The first and foremost reason is that your child isn’t even actually on Facebook. Togetherville is a very Facebook-like experience, but geared towards kids.
The grown-up who set up the account can see everything their child does. The people they talk to, the games they play and much more. You are essentially seeing the same thing the child does.
Togetherville moderates the messages the child sends. If your child swears, for example, the “Quip” will not be approved.
If you choose to, you can receive an email with the “any activity updates”.
Why kids would use Togetherville
There are is a lot for the kids to do and ways they can interact with their parents. There are lots of videos to watch and games to play.
The videos are clips from Youtube, Disney, Pixar and some educational choices are only some of the choices. Just like on Facebook, they can “Like” or “Heart” a video or share it with a grownup or other friends you have.
Just like those of you who spend countless hours playing Farmville or Mafia Wars, your kids have a bunch of options to keep them occupied. The games are very age appropriate and they can play you, the grownup, by sending you a Dare. A dare is basically a challenge to beat their score.
Kids also like art. There is a section of the site where they can create different pictures and share those with your world.
If your child wants to add a friend, there is a Secret Friending Code that is unique to each child. The child requesting the friendship needs to have this code or they cannot send a friend request. As you can imagine, this really cuts down on the random people sending your child friend requests and limits it to their friends and other people you approve.
If you are introducing your children to the web and social sites, this is a fantastic site. It will give you control over what they can and can’t do, while also allowing you to interact with them in a new way via the dares and sending gifts and such.
What are your tips for protecting your kids when they are online?