A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kimingo is a closed social network site that kids can only sign up for through their school. Kids' schools first sign up to use Kimingo; the site then has a school representative verify each students' identity in person. Kimingo provides a printed registration card to each student with a code. Parents and their children use the code to create their account. Parents need to verify registration for any child under age 13. Once in, kids can do the usual social media stuff: sharing photos, posting to friends' walls, and so on. Kimingo's not messing around when it comes to kid privacy and safety; its best feature (signing in through school) also is its downfall (if your kids' school doesn't have it, they can't use it).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Designed as a safe social media site, Kimingo lets kids connect while parents are watching to help diminish the risk of cyberbullying or inappropriate contact with unknown adults. Each user has to meet with a designated Kimingo contact at a registered school for identify verification. Once they're approved, kids can share photos and videos, post status updates, email other users, and "pop," or like, items. School administrators also can send announcements, homework assignments, or other items directly to students' pages.
Is it any good?
Kids can do pretty much the same things on KIMINGO that they can do on other social media sites: share photos, post comments, upload videos, and respond to other users' messages and posts. Kimingo, however, is a closed online social network that parents can monitor -- making it safer than sites such as Facebook or Twitter, where kids can easily come into contact with strangers. It'll require some time and effort on adults' part, but giving parents profile-monitoring capabilities should help keep correspondence clean. The site isn't currently implemented in a lot of schools; growth likely will depend on whether or not educational institutions embrace the system. The network can be used for teacher-student correspondence, but it also can simply serve as a social outlet (which may be a deterrent for some schools). However, if a school is looking to add a new tool that'll help kids practice safe communication, Kimingo's structure may prove a perfect fit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how you should connect with friends on social media sites. How can you tell if your profile is public -- and what should you do if someone you don't know tries to friend you?
Should you ever start chatting with or emailing someone you don't know if that person lives in your area or goes to your school?
How should you react if a friend posts an inappropriate comment on your profile?