Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a fun, safe place for all things Allie Finkle. Fans of the book series will enjoy posting their thoughts on the books and their lives on the protected message board. All comments pass through a monitor before being posted. The site also doesn't allow users to include their last name, school, city, or birthday. Teachers and parents can also post, but they must first register. All the other features -- avatar making, poll taking, game playing -- is also safe.
What's it about?
Based on the Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls books by Meg Cabot, who also wrote the Princess Diaries series, this site includes the usual book Web site fare, including an author Q&A and a synopsis of the next book. The site also features a monthly contest that lets girls submit their suggested rules for a featured topic -- like how to treat your friends -- which are then posted and voted on (The top-rated ones are featured on the site's home page.) Users can design an avatar with a fun, easy-to-use tool and can send other members "waves" by selecting two pre-determined sayings (like "Howdy, partner!") and three emoticons. Other activities include e-cards and some fairly simple games that let you dress Allie in crazy outfits.
Is it any good?
The site isn't full of activities -- it clearly exists primarily as a promotional tool for the books -- but its games should entertain kids for at least a half-hour or so. The real selling point is the site's super-safe interactivity options, which let girls vote on random topics or post comments on a monitored message board. The boards even screen for bad language, e-mail addresses, attached photos, and aggressive or mean messages. Finding a secure way for tween girls to express themselves online can be tricky; the Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls site gives them the chance to post and respond without risk. That alone makes the site worth visiting.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why it might be dangerous to post things like your birthday or school name. Why would that put you at risk? Why is it better to keep personal information general online? What's OK to share and what's best kept private?