A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Yoursphere is one of the safe social networks out there for kids. It requires parents to submit to a background check for identity verification before activating a child's account. The social networking site for kids 17 and under includes games, a virtual world, a credit system where are rewarded for positive interaction in the community, and more. That said, content is squeaky clean, the strict membership rules surely will weed out some undesirables, and sign-ups are vetted against a database of registered sex offenders.
What's it about?
Yousphere is a social network for kids up to 17. The home page has a Pinterest-like interface; you can scroll through an endless series of pin-style boxes, each containing a photo, quiz, inspirational quote, or link to an article. Forums and comments are monitored, but not heavily. Once verified, kids can create a profile, add friends, and play games on the site.
You can join "Spheres," themed groups where kids can post content about their favorite sports, tv shows, or any subject of interest; they include Pets, Books, Causes, and Gaming. Other users can join and comment.
Is it any good?
YOURSPHERE is the creation of Mary Kay Hoal, a Davis, CA, mother of five determined to provide her children a safe online alternative to MySpace. Only children between the ages of up to age 18 may use Yoursphere, which touts itself as the first youth-oriented social network to guarantee no sexual predators. Joining requires that a parent register first and undergo identification verification. On this site, kids can set up a page, friend other members, and join "spheres" -- activity channels such as TV & Movies, Music, and Gaming.
The site boasts a young, appealing design, from the flash-graphics-heavy home page to the profile pages, which feature a Facebook-like news feed of friends' activities. Revolving safety tips keep kids constantly on the alert to online dangers, while the options of email, posting photos, and creating additional channels nicely mimic adult social networks.
Online interaction: Kids can start a blog, connect with friends, play multiplayer games, ask or answer questions on a variety of topics to share with the community, participate in chat rooms and message boards, and more. The site promotes positive interactions and may remove users who violate the rules. However, the games and videos are a mixed bag; one basic Bratz memory game lets players dress a suggestive doll, while the Kabillion Daily Videos don't contain any content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and whether they guard the safety of kids, especially kids under 13. How do they compare to sites like Yoursphere when it comes to kids' safety? Check out Common Sense Media's Facebook for Parents tipsheet.
Families can also talk about being safe in social networks.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: discussion, reading, writing
Social Studies: citizenship
- Skills: Self-Direction: self-reflection
Emotional Development: identifying emotions, perspective taking, self-awareness
Communication: conveying messages effectively, friendship building
Collaboration: respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, honoring the community, respect for others
Tech Skills: evaluating media messages, social media
- Genre: Social Networking
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love to stay safe online
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