Social Media Networks for Kids

HH&H_cover_730x600-1Somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12, consider slowly beginning to social media train your child. While most social media networks only cater to the 13 and up crowd, there are several social media networks designed for younger kids that provide a healthy training ground.

 With your supervision, these sites can offer a positive introduction to how social media works and address questions that come up while interacting with others online.

What is COPPA?

When you start exploring social networks geared for kids under the age of 13, first take a look at how the company plans to use your child’s personal information. Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a company that targets kids under the age of 13 is required to disclose to parents what it plans to do with any personal or identifiable information it collects about your child. Parents must also provide consent for the child to use the site.

Discussion Opportunities

When you land on a site that you and your child like and you’ve read the terms of privacy and terms of use, start discussing the following:

  • How to create a strong password.
  • Safety and security. Never share your password with anyone and tell mom or dad if something you see makes you uncomfortable.
  • What a good, safe profile looks like.
  • What types of information we don’t share with others.
  • What interests him about the site.
  • What an avatar is.

Sites to check out:

Club Penguin (7+): Part of the Walt Disney company, this network offers an interactive forum for kids to play games that help with motor skills, creativity, teamwork and math (like money management). Kids can chat with other players in a safe community and can also create their own social groups. 

YourSphere (9+): gives this site a 4-star rating for its safety and clean content. YourSphere requires that parents go through a background check to verify their identity. Kids earn credits for positive interactions in the community and membership rules are stringent. 

GromSocial (9+): This site doesn’t win the highest quality marks on CommonSenseMedia, but it appears safe. This social media network was started in 2012 by Zach Marks, who was 11 at the time. The network touts safety for kids in a friendly, monitored environment. It features a built-in filter that kicks out profanity and has a strong anti-bullying message. Parents can receive reports about their child’s activity, such as who he communicated with and what he viewed. The site features games, music videos, live chats, opportunities to customize avatars, and post photos and videos. There is also a place for kids to seek help on homework. Parents approve friend requests.

Is your child on a social media network? Please tell me about it. I’d love to check it out!

Coming Tuesday, September 16! Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World

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