A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Some of the games -- such as Goodgame Café -- can help kids learn how to be responsible by figuring out the financial and time management skills needed to run a restaurant.
Violence & Scariness
Games such as City Gangs have violent themes and include brawls and guns. Some message board posts feature heated debates about religion and touch on topics like horror movies in which you know a "yuppie teenager is going to be killed by a pitchfork, butcher’s knife, screwdriver, pane of glass, or even the conveniently sharp fragment of wood sticking out of the wall."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Inappropriate content is everywhere -- ranging from character-related gifts you can send to other users that include messages like "Hi, Sexy" to message board posts offering free "naughty" videos. Games like Lady Popular feature characters with revealing clothing.
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Comments posted on profile pages appear instantly, so it's possible to post words like "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Ads for cars, dating websites, and other products are visible throughout the site. A Craigslist-type classified section also offers everything from rental apartments to art and cars to babysitting services in cities across the U.S. The site's virtual currency can be purchased with real money via Paypal or mobile phone.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some profiles feature images of drug paraphernalia and alcohol, and friends can send "gifts" such as an icon with cigarettes and a lighter or a mug of beer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Friendster is a social network with plenty of iffy content: Teens on the site may encounter inappropriate language as well as sexual and violent content. Kids must be at least 16 years old to have an account, and they enter an email address, password, birthday, gender, country of residence, and first and last name when registering. However, it's possible to prevent your last name from appearing on your profile. You can also opt to create a shortcut URL that leads directly to your profile page.
Is It Any Good?
When FRIENDSTER first launched several years ago, it offered a pre-Facebook array of ways to connect with others. In addition to creating a profile with photos and basic information, after you approved a friend request, your pals could post testimonials about you. The site now features games, which are offered as apps you add to your profile. Users can also join groups based on topics like travel and TV. Another new addition: Two types of virtual currency -- chips, which Friendster calls "play money," and coins, which let you buy virtual flowers and other things to send friends and can be purchased via mobile phone or PayPal.
Friendster now offers more interactive elements; there are certainly more ways to connect and more to do on the site than in its original incantation. However, there's a reason you have to say you're 16 to register -- much of the content (bad language, profiles glamorizing drugs) is not for younger kids. Encourage teens who register to customize the account settings to restrict who can email them or post comments on their profile.
Online interaction: During the registration process, you can log in to your email account via the site to invite friends from your address book to friend you, or you can enter email addresses manually. You can also post and send messages to other users through the site. The account settings let you limit whether just friends or all users can contact you.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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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.See how we rate