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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 this social networking site for teens was started by a Michigan girl and her pals who enjoy designing Web sites. Though not quite finished, it already has too much advertising, and we accidentally saw what might be evidence that the site intends to sell members' information.
In all other ways, Whateverlife seems safe and wholesome enough, with a full set of social networking tools coupled with a download page for kids interested in HTML. Its bubbly teen female founder gives it a nice girl-power kind of vibe. However, it's still in beta, so parents will want to keep an eye on how the community grows, especially Cupid Mail, a promised email option that matches "compatible" members.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
It's too soon to tell whether Whateverlife will blossom into another Miss O & Friends or stall like so many new social networking sites. It has a lot of potential -- certainly the tools, once working, will give kids plenty of ways to safely interact -- but it might need more compelling seed content than free wallpaper and Myspace code.
Online interaction: The beta version of the site was very quiet when we visited in October 2009. The chat room was empty and the message board was not yet working. However, the few posts up, mostly requests for specific types of wallpaper and a handful of events, were friendly and positive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Social networks are a fact of life for most kids because they're such a fun way to connect with friends. What should kids watch out for when they join a social network? Help them avoid them the pitfalls.
Many Web sites could not exist without advertising, but kids can be especially susceptible to marketing, especially if ads are intrusive or disguised as content. Help kids see through the hype.