This video explains how Togetherville works and what kids can do on it.
This video explains how the kids find “friends” safely and with their parent’s approval.
Togetherville is a new web site for kids that basically is a kid-friendly version of Facebook. (See the top video for how it works.)
“Togetherville is meant to offer a more colorful and safe Facebook-like experience for kids ages six to ten (though any child under 13 can become a member), and it includes parents in the entire experience.”
“ ‘Grownups’ can sign up using a Facebook account. They then create an account for a child and help connect the child to real-world friends by pulling data and relationships from the adult’s own Facebook social graph. Parents can easily find the children of their adult friends and connect them to their child on Togetherville. Parents also have complete control over who communicates with their children and can share the child’s activities with their friends on Facebook.”
“Once an account has been created, a kid can comment on and “like” content from friends on his or her very own age-appropriate activity wall. The wall also allows for posting pre-fabricated “quips” selected from kid-friendly categories like “LOL.” Of course, kids can also participate in fun activities such as art projects, compete in games against one another or watch on-site videos. The site also encourages parents and children to use it together for a more educational experience.”
“Togetherville doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to social features. YouTube videos (pre-screened, of course), games and activity feeds are all apart of the experience, and they have the features you’d expect elsewhere. The only difference is that they’re devoid of adult material and tailored toward young kids.”…
“Togetherville really delivers on its intention to create a child-appropriate, Facebook-like experience for young people. With social networking and the web becoming a more integral part of the lives of young adults, the site could help to teach the next generation of Facebook users a more responsible way to use social media.”
I watched the video and I do like that there are preselected games and You Tube videos for the kids to watch but I worry they would be too small-fry for my older kids. Also since my kids know the whole You Tube world is out there I am afraid the cat is already out of the bag. (They started out on some innocent “iCarly” videos the other day but then through innocent clicking wandered off into some dirty videos of someone mocking “iCarly.”)
I think Walsh in particular would like hooking up with his friends on it. But I just worry that it would be a huge time suck for him and something else I would have to limit (although it might be a good punishment to lose it.). We know how much time we waste on Facebook. I don’t really want my kids doing that too.
My other worry is the micro-transaction. As we know sites like Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters get the kids in with free play but then encourage them to spend some money for special privileges.
“(Togetherville) recently introduced a virtual currency system that is both child money-management tool and parent reward utility. The feature is aptly named Allowance, and parents can award kids “T-bills” — $10 gets you 1,700 T-bills — that they can spend in their neighborhood to buy virtual goods, games or gifts.”
So what do you think: Is Togetherville a nice, safe way for kids to interact online or a time suck they don’t need to follow their parents into? Should it be a goal for kids to learn how to be good online citizens and get comfortable in that world in a safe way or is that just justification to drag them in early? Would you set your kids up on Togetherville? What do you think of the features such as approved games and videos? What about those pesky micro-transactions?