Jabbersmack Website Poster Image

Jabbersmack

(i)

 

Safe social networking for kids under 13.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Jabbersmack wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive messages

Some sections represent positivity-focused brands such as Jabbersmack, which says it aims to remind kids to focus on friends and not "money or gadgets or material stuff." Games also feature encouraging notes about performance.

Violence

Although the site's YouTube access is supposed to involve a strict filter, entering words such as "stabbing" will produce some pretty violent videos; kids also can click through from the Miniclip Kidsocial section to Miniclip's main site, which features gory zombie games and other games.

Sex

Words such as "porn" and "sex" don't produce any results in a search on the site's YouTube section, but kids can still access videos with iffy content including streakers.
 

Language

The site's Grooveshark music player lets kids download pretty much any song they enter -- including raunchy tunes that contain swear words.

Consumerism

Kids can purchase $500 in Playcash, the site currency used to buy avatars and other items, for $5 (in real money) or $5,000 in Playcash for $50 (in real money). Many of the sections are based on products such as Slinkies and Zoobies Pets.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A search for "pot" turns up marijuana-related YouTube videos; "drunk" produces clips with intoxicated people falling.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this social networking site has made some serious efforts to ensure kids have a safe experience. Users can't friend strangers through the site; they need to get a randomly generated code for each friend they invite to join, and send it via text or print it out and bring the code to school.
 

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What's it about?

Jabbersmack, formerly Kidsocial, has social networking down to a near science. Kids under 13 can only friend real-life acquaintances by giving them a "Secret Friendship Code," and a parent needs to approve the account before kids can communicate. However, although the safeguarded social networking likely will be a big draw, some parents may not be crazy about kids' ability to follow specific brands

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Many social networking sites try to safeguard kids under 13, with mixed results -- but, on most counts, Jabbersmack gets it right. Users who are over 13 can add friends using their Facebook accounts, but younger kids are required to text or print out a code for each friend they invite. They can play games, watch TV, or listen to tunes without getting parental approval. However, before kids under 13 post photos or other items, parents -- who also can register to monitor their kids' site activity -- need to verify and approve a child's account. And kids can't fool the system by entering their own email addresses during registration: A credit card is required to verify the account (the charge is less than $1 but proves an adult is giving the OK).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's safer for a social networking site to only let you chat and share things with friends you know from school and other places. Why might it be a bad idea to friend a stranger on another site that doesn’t have any restrictions?

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  • Families can talk social networking sites such as Facebook and whether they guard the safety of kids, especially kids under 13. Check out Common Sense's "Facebook for Parents" tip sheet.

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  • Even though you're only talking to friends you know on Kidsocial, it's still not a good idea to say anything hurtful or mean. What common courtesies should you follow when posting comments and other things for friends? How should you react if someone says something that makes you feel uncomfortable?

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Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: discussion, presenting to others
Arts: drawing, music
Skills:Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: social media
Genre:Social Networking
Pricing structure:Free

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