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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that on ElfYourself users can upload an image and create a dancing elf video without registering or entering any personal information. You can also email the video to acquaintances by just entering your email address and the recipient's email address. However, to save your elf video, you'll need to click on a link sent to your email to validate your account. Once you've validated your account, you're asked to provide additional information -- including first name, a password, date of birth, country, and zip code. The site's terms of service require users to be age 14 or older, so parents would need to do the elfing for younger kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
ElfYourself by OfficeMax -- which is powered by the eCard-based site JibJab -- lets users create up to five elves using personal photos that will dance in a brief video to hip-hop, country, or other types of music. The site is simple to use: You just upload a JPEG or PNG photo from your computer or Facebook account, or use one taken with your webcam. You can zoom and rotate the photo to make it fit as the elf's face and choose how you'd like your elf to dance, surf, or sing.
If you'd like to send the video to someone or watch it at a later date, you'll need to enter your email address (which will garner you a few e-mails from the site, JibJab, and OfficeMax). If you'd like to download the video to your phone or computer, it'll cost you $4.99. A banner ad also encourages users to order mugs, a DVD with eight versions of your elf self dancing, and other items with your elf image on them. However, if you just want to visit the site and create and view an elf video, you're in for a bit of holiday cheer: You don't need to enter any personal information -- and you can watch it as many times as you'd like in one sitting for free.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why you might be concerned about uploading a photo of yourself to a website -- even if it won't be posted anywhere public?
What does it mean if a website says it owns the rights to all images used on its site? How might the site use your picture to promote itself?
What kinds of pictures are OK to upload to a website? Aside from the obvious stuff -- bad hand gestures, etc. -- what kinds of things shouldn't you upload to a site because it might be inappropriate or infringe on someone else's privacy? Parents, for more tips on keeping kids safe online, check out our article on online privacy.
For kids who love to get into the holiday spirit
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.