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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this interactive online community offers safe email and instant messaging (IM), games, activities, videos, and more. Designed for tween girls, the site touts itself as an "onramp to the Internet" and charges a fee to become a member. Future plans include more robust social networking and blogging opportunities.
What's it about?
GIRLAMBITION.COM was created by three working mothers concerned about the lack of strong female role models on the Internet and discouraged by their own pre-teens' unsettling online experiences. The resulting site combines all the elements a growing tween girl might wish to find: games, activities, videos (with a place to post your own), and the always-alluring email and instant messaging opportunities. Gabbi, a smiling animated virtual tour guide, demonstrates destinations such as The Clubhouse, The Hangout, and The Giving Tree (where users learn about non-profits and the rewards of giving back). A real-life tween spokesperson named Dani Girl interacts through videos. GirlAmbition.com prides itself on teaching skills for using the Internet safely and requires parents to approve their child's buddy list.
Is it any good?
GirlAmbition.com's plans to mix entertainment and substance is ambitious. Here's a place where you can dress up and accessorize your avatar, learn about civic engagement opportunities, and express your creativity. While the site is adding new content, it's heavier on style than substance, but it's a decent, affirming, and safe place for girls to learn important online skills. Age-wise, it'll probably appeal more to younger tweens than teens who are eager to move onto more sophisticated social networking sites. But the communication aspect of the site will keep young girls coming back for more -- sending IMs and emails using the site's stylized and animated designs will delight them -- but will be a bit too childlike for teens.
GirlAmbition.com sends a message of empowing girls, teaching life skills, and nurturing self-confidence -- and those messages are subtly reinforced in various small ways that can add up and have a positive effect.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of learning how to use the Internet and social networking tools safely. Why is email, IM, and and social networking so important to tween girls? Does it help or hinder their ability to communicate and socialize? What does it mean to be "empowered?"