What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids can build their own Web site -- sites that can be browsed from the Angelfire home page. This means that there's not much control over who can see your kid's site. Also, many member sites deal with adult content and themes like marital intimacy, sexual dysfunction, and recovering from sexual abuse. Not all the tools are free, and to avoid having ads on your personal site, you need to subscribe to one of Angelfire's "upgrade" plans, starting at $5 a month, plus a one-time set-up fee. Kids can also download and buy a variety of PC games.
What's it about?
For kids less into social networking and more into just making their own Web site dedicated to a particular cause or subject -- or just about themselves -- ANGELFIRE.COM is an easy-to-use choice. There's lots of free stuff, and lots of affordable opportunities for upgrades. And if you don't know exactly what bells and whistles your site requires, a handy "Plan Finder" will help you figure out whether you need the Neon, the Argon, the Xenon, or the Krypton plan.
Is it any good?
Angelfire has been around since the Internet dark ages of 1995, and even though it's billed as a teen destination, it's hard to imagine how it competes with the more interactive social networking and blogging sites so popular with this demographic. Some member sites could be useful for getting information on niche-interest topics (Renaissance Architecture? South African Martial Arts?), but today's curious minds can find everything they need with Google or Wikipedia.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what is appropriate to post on a personal page. What information should you include? What should you leave out? Families can also discuss what makes teens want to have their own Web pages. Does it encourage healthy self-expression, or a self-indulgent inward focus?