Espin

Website review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Espin Website Poster Image

Product no longer available

Flirtatious site focuses on judging teens by their looks.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

While there are a few positive messages on Espin -- the advice column provides relatively sound suggestions -- overall the site promotes judging people on their physical appearance and criticizing people for no reason. The "judge me" poll lets users rate others from "hot" to "not that special." Profile photos are pitted against each other and users can pick which person is hotter.

Violence
Sex

Some photos are risque, with girls showing off their behinds in shorty shorts. "Do Something" icons take smilies to the next level with various emoticons that range from "chest bump" to "tonsil hockey." Other features include the "Expose Yourself" tool which lets your profile get advertised, and quizzes such as "Which Sexy Are You?" that include multiple choice options like "a midnight tryst in the back of a Dodge Ram." There are references to sneaking a view of mature TV and strip poker.

Language

"Asshole" is used several times and some photos show members putting up their middle finger.

Consumerism

The site is owned by Hearst Magazines and sister sites for magazines like Seventeen and CosmoGirl are promoted and linked to the site. Ads for cell phones and make-up companies are prevalent on the site and many times it's hard to tell these are ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A quiz question asks "if you found a kitten, what would you name it?" One of the multiple choice options is "Jagermeister," the 70-proof German liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although ESPIN is all about flirting, sex, and indulging in teen hormones, that's not the major problem. This is a site that can pose a major danger to a teen user's delicate self-esteem. Because the site encourages members to judge peers by their profile photos, it sets up a contest that is solely based on looks and equates physical attractiveness with success in finding love and self-worth. The site also attempts to "match" up teens for love connections, but cautions that all of the interactions should remain exclusively on the site, a goal that seems to be too ambitious for its teen audience to obey.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCooldee May 10, 2010
Teen, 16 years old Written byvyrgomd May 2, 2011
I love it it is the best game ever. It teaches kids to use their brains.
Teen, 13 years old Written byiluvjbsomuch March 27, 2011

a dissapointment

i thought this was going to be a fun site where u just created avatars, quizzes and got to im people. well it is.....but at a high price. when u first sign up u... Continue reading

Is it any good?

This site is voluminous, with games, quizzes, surveys, chatting, and the random crush-finder application that gives the site its name. ESPIN captures the sense of innocence, naughtiness, and curiosity that define the teenage years. But things take a tailspin when the site plays to the lowest teen urges to segregate and ostracize based on the most superficial qualities. This site doesn't play by the rules of the old spin-the-bottle game. With a singular focus on "hotness" and sex appeal, Espin makes flirting into a competitive sport. The site also seems incredibly naive to believe that these virtual hook-ups will remain in cyberspace.

Online interaction: Users can rate other members in an impersonal manner. Messages between "matches" are filtered to avoid the exchange of contact information, but by initiating these flirtatious connections, the site is tempting users to want to meet. The site advises users to keep relations casual and strictly online, but then allows users to narrow their search for people close to their ZIP code and says things like "Get new photo profiles of highly-compatible Spinners every time you log in. Kind of like The Bachelor, except your relationship might actually work out!"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media pressures teens to be pretty and attractive. Can you think of any ads, Web sites, or music videos that have made you feel unsure of yourself? Boys and girls both tackle these problems when they are teens. What can you do to feel more confident?

  • What makes a social networking site safe to use and what can you do to be safe while socializing on-line? Have you discussed safe habits with your family? Do your friends play it safe on-line or do they sometimes do irresponsible things?

  • How do you feel about a Web site that encourages teens to judge others by what they look like in a photograph? Do you think this type of criticism brings out the best or worst in people? If a person gets all low ratings for her photo, do you think that will make her feel good about herself? Would this have the same effect as cyberbullying?

Website details

For kids who love to be online social butterflies

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate