When we PR professionals think about social media and networking online, we see it as a way to communicate with customers and clients, it is often easy to forget that people use social networking websites to keep in touch with friends and family. What we also may forget at times is that there can be a less attractive aspect to social networking.
Children and social networking websites have been the centre of the mainstream news with it seeming that every week a child has been harmed due to misusing social networking sites such as Facebook, due to inadvertent misuse or misunderstanding of how social media platforms work.
Nobody can tell a parent what the right thing to do for their family is but there are solutions that can help allay your parental concerns and keep your child safe from other users. In short, the main principles to keeping your child safe online are:
- Privacy settings
- Monitoring activity
On one of our research missions today, we came across a new social networking site that is directed at children, the “Tween” age bracket of 8-13 year olds. The site is called Everloop and the purpose of the site is to provide children a social network of their own where they can interact with their school friends and their parents have access to the child’s account so they know who their child is talking to and when they are trying to expand their social circle.
It doesn’t look as though this has taken off in the UK but there is certainly a gap in the market for a social network such as Everloop where younger children don’t feel like they are missing out on all the fun stuff their older brothers and sisters have with their friends online but where parental involvement is actively encouraged.
Regarding monetisation of such a network, Everloop take credit card details of an adult, although whether the card is charged remains unclear. I would be very interested to see how a website like Everloop would make money, particularly with the regulation surrounding advertising to children. With this in mind, one does wonder if a social network directed at children could survive without paid registration. What do readers think?