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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that to register on Skid-e-Kids, parents need to enter a username, password, and age. Parents can also register via Facebook. The site will access your Facebook account to populate a Skid-e-Kids profile with your name and other information; you then add children to your profile. However, kids can apparently register on their own without their parents, either on the Skid-e-Kids site or via Facebook if they have an account.
Is it any good?
SKID-E-KIDS offers less interaction than Facebook or MySpace -- which allow users to interact via comments and status update -- plus parental tracking tools so parents can monitor their kids' communications. The emphasis on safe social networking is great; however, the site has a few confusing components. The parental controls work best if parents register their kids; however, kids can also easily register themselves, in which case parents won't be able to view their kid's account without knowing the log-in information. A section allowing kids to sell/swap toys seems a bit unrealistic; many of the prices are outrageously high ($359 for a Justin Bieber poster?). In addition, there's a paid registration option that costs $24 a year -- but it's unclear what extra amenities are offered. Users can easily log on, friend other users, access games and videos, and ask for homework help without a paid membership.
Also, although it's a picky point, for a site offering an admirable educational bent, there are also a fairly high number of typos/grammatical errors on the site -- game ratings are preceded by a "Who like this game?" message, for example. Skid-e-Kids does offer 7- to 14-year-olds a safer experience than many social networking sites -- but it could benefit from a little more instructional content and a good edit.
Online interaction: Kids can send each other messages through the site, even if the other user hasn't accepted their friend request. There's also a live chat option, although it appears there are still a few kinks to work out for chat to be functional on Macs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about safe social networking. What potentially unsafe things could happen on larger, less controlled sites like Facebook, which aren't specifically designed for kids?
What kind of information should you never give out on a social networking site?
Even if you don't think it would be dangerous to give someone who is chatting with you from far away personal information, should you ever tell anyone your town, or name, or address? Why not?
For kids who love connect with other kids online
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