What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 60 million+ member global community of personal sites is similar to other social networking sites with sometimes inappropriate content in photos (scantily clad women in suggestive poses) and postings (swearing, references to drinking and drugs), lots of bells and whistles to communicate with online "friends," and privacy settings to limit who views your personal page. There are a lot of different languages and cultures represented here, and users can subscribe to other people's "channels."
What's it about?
Taking Facebook, MySpace, and Piczo to a broader stage, HI5.COM's social networking universe spans North and South Americas, Europe, and Asia. This makes for an interesting mix of international languages, members, and content -- think Fantasy Island and Bollywood videos. But there's also the standard fare of lots of mainstream American music videos and personal self-gratuitous photos from teens and young adults looking to be sexy, tough, or mysterious.
Is it any good?
As on most social networking sites, questionable content does pop up. The little hi5 "give 'em five" icons all over the place let users post the icons to each others' sites to "describe how you feel about your friend" -- with an option to delete if your "friend" doesn't feel very good about you. Don't miss the site's safety sections for teens and parents, and consider recommending to your teen that he or she use the privacy settings to control who can see their page. Otherwise it's global, quite literally.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Internet safety with social networking sites. Why is guarding your personal information -- and your personal image -- on social networking sites so important? What information should you include in your profile and what should you leave out?