A lot or a little?
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that that this innovative but potentially risky e-commerce site targets people who want to buy virtual goods or online content but don't have a debit or credit card (or don't want to use one online). Users can buy virtual goods on credit, starting with a credit limit of $5. If they pay up on time (with real cash), their credit scores rise and their credit limits increase. If not, they can have their credit privileges revoked but are off the hook for the the money. The site states that users must be 13+, but there's nothing that prevents younger visitors from signing up.
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Is it any good?
Kwedit could be the Internet's next big thing -- or a total flop. Users can buy inexpensive virtual goods online (like virtual cat chow for their Foo Pets) with Kwedit Promise and then pay off their debts with Kwedit Direct -- either by printing out a prepaid mailer and sending cash to Kwedit, or by paying in-person at 7-Eleven stores. It's a fairly convenient transaction -- if you're comfortable sending cash through the mail. But will users actually pay? It all depends on if they care enough about their credit limit and credit score -- and if they feel like they're bound by an honor system.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this site offers useful lessons about credit -- or teaches teens that promises can be broken without consequences. What do you think about the "Pass the Duck" feature, which lets ask users someone else to pay their debt?
Families can also talk about the controversy generated by the site's former mascot, a duck named Kwedit. (He's still in the logo but has been removed from the rest of the site's branding.) Do you think that Kwedit was used specifically to target kids, as some sources have claimed?
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