What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teen sports fans will love this slick, well-organized college and pro sports fan site patterned after MySpace. Kids are supposed to be at least 13 to join, and there appears to be a lot of 18+ adult males in the membership. Some features are clearly intended for adults, like the "FanFinder," which is a way to find the sports bar nearest you. The profile page gives the option to enter your real name, hometown, photo, and other personal information, which raises safety questions for teens on this mixed teen/adult forum. But there's a safer option offered to make your real name known only to friends, or to use the site without using your name. Also, individual members' profiles and the comments on them aren't monitored, raising the chance of encountering rough language and inappropriate sexual references.
What's it about?
SPORTSFANLIVE.COM is one of the latest developments of niche social networking sites patterned after the ultra-popular MySpace. Just like MySpace, members have a page of their own to post comments, have a "Friends" list, and communicate with other fans who can post messages on a personal chalkboard. For better or worse, there's also a betting element. New members get 1,000,000 FanBux free and then earn more through challenging other players to a bet.
Is it any good?
Some elements make this site unique and more valuable to sports fans than a general social networking site. It searches thousands of news and sports sources daily to give fans news on each member's chosen favorite teams and players. Interesting poll questions about the sports news of the day -- everything from players' behavior off the field to coaches' strategy -- help place sports into a larger context for teens.
Overall, Sportsfanlive.com is a smart, entertaining way for sports fans to keep up with loads of information on their favorite leagues, teams, and players, and to interact with other fans. But parents should be ready to throw the penalty flag if teens don't approach the social networking safety and betting aspects of the site with caution.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how to handle yourself in a mixed teen/adult group on the Internet -- just because you're talking about something as straightforward as sports doesn't mean everyone's motives are good. Also, what's the line between fun "gentlemen's bets" on sports with fake money and gambling with real cash?