Kiwibox

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Kiwibox Website Poster Image
Teen site in need of better writing, more filters.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages
Violence
Sex

Users swap sex questions and answers on the site's sex message board. Users can tell other users that they have a crush on them using the eCupid Love Matcher.

Language

It's alarmingly easy to post swear words like "s--t" and "f--k" on the site's message boards and comment areas.

Consumerism

Includes a number of ads for products like tampons and new CDs -- some of which you have to close out before reading a page -- and features a number of music videos promoting new albums/songs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Message boards and journals contain some posts about drinking and drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although teens are encouraged not to upload profile photos containing nudity, violence, or illegal activities on this site, there's no filter to stop it; the same goes for posting swear words or inappropriate comments. All the site does to monitor activity is offer a link to submit a complaint about any images or language on a page. Teens must register for this site, which involves submitting their age, email, zip code, and first and last name to post or create a profile. During registration, you're offered the chance to get "cool stuff" from Kiwibox's partners (listed as free stuff, special offers, and more) but can opt out of it. Users are supposed to be 13 or older, but you can enter any birth date, and the site doesn't require any age confirmation from a parent or guardian. With a profile, you're able to email other users through the site's email system, and you can also add strangers as friends by sending them a request through the site. Users can tell other users that they have a crush on them using the eCupid Love Matcher by entering their email and name.

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What's it about?

KIWIBOX.COM features articles and videos about topics like fashion, dating, and music. The site encourages users to share their thoughts via journals, message boards, and by posting article comments. Teens who register can set up profiles with photos, local weather, and more. The site also has gives KiwiPoints for actions like referring a friend, which can be used to get prizes like temporary tattoos or an iPod Shuffle.

Is it any good?

Kiwibox.com really seems like it's trying to give teens a lot to read and react to; and the content covers interesting subjects ranging from politics to cell phone etiquette. According to the site, 100% of the editorial content is written by high school and college students. But that also means the article quality is kind of hit or miss; some read more like personal essays, and most don't list any sources for the information and advice being offered. As a result, teens may not learn a ton from every article they read.

The site also has some work to do in terms of controlling what content can be posted. For the most part, the comments on the site's articles aren't too racy, but you can easily post swear words or mean comments (which may or may not be removed later, if they're reported to site administrators). Plus some of the site's message boards -- like the sex topic board -- can get pretty graphic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to be careful about giving out your name and email address to a Web site or to any companies that advertise on a Web site. What kind of things might they send you? What does the site get out of offering "cool stuff" from their partners? Why do you think certain products target teens?

Website details

  • Genre: Blogging
  • Pricing structure: Free

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