Yoursphere

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Kid-only social network promises to block dangerous adults.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site promotes positive online interactions, Internet safety for children, and connecting with other kids.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Participating in site activities earns credits, which can be exchanged for prizes such as gaming consoles, iPhones, and other desirable items. Gold memberships, which cost $4.95 monthly (annual and family plans are also available), premium benefits including contests, access to a scholarship program, and more credits.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can -- but don't have to -- submit an email address when registering and are reminded during registration not to offer information like their name, phone number, or IM address anywhere on the site. Users profiles often include real photos and are visible to anyone. During the registration process, parents submit personal information for identity verification, which includes conducting a background check.

The site is for users 18 and under; and even if a child is over 13, a parent's email is requested during registration. To activate a child's membership, parents submit to a background check for identity verification. Parents, once verified, can manage their child's account via a parent dashboard.

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 kids can learn

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

  • respect for others
  • following codes of conduct
  • honoring the community

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Design is charming and kid-friendly without being in-your-face. A Pinterest-style scrolling board lets kids share inspiration and images, and they'll have fun posting and chatting with each other.

Learning Approach

Kids will gain social skills as they learn how to navigate an online environment. They can build friendships and use their words to communicate, though it's too bad the games don't have much learning potential.

Support

It seems as if help is only accessible when you're logged out, which is frustrating. 

What kids can learn

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

  • respect for others
  • following codes of conduct
  • honoring the community

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media

Kids can learn to strengthen friendships with real-life friends and potentially meet new people in a safe online environment. They'll learn to share positive, appropriate content while figuring out their likes and dislikes, then finding like-minded kids to share their enthusiasm for pop stars or books. They'll also make choices about what to do with the credits they collect, redeeming them for prizes or donating to charity. They won't learn much from the games, which are pretty commercial and not very challenging. However, Yoursphere is definitely one of the warmer, more pleasant social networks for kids.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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.

Website details

Genre:Social Networking
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Yoursphere was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byaimeejohns February 20, 2010
 

Not very safe

Not as safe as it seems. It has a long way to go
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 9 years old July 15, 2011
 

good for kids

Creativity Safe nobody over 18
What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 11 years old April 11, 2009
 

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