Tween Virtual Chat Communities Blog#6
Tween Virtual Chat Communities
Because pre-tweens still require adult supervision, parents place restrictions on their physical mobility. A latchkey child is expected to go directly home or to the public library after school and stay safely inside until the working parent arrives. These children miss the purely social time of hanging out with friends after school.
As younger siblings watch brothers and sisters spend hours communicating with friends in virtual worlds, pre-tweens want a place of their own. Social networks allow children to communicate in a ‘controlled’ space. They can connect with other children even when they are by themselves. Listed below are current online communities that address the wishes of 8-12 year olds and the safety issues parents are desperate for.
On these colorful, interactive sites, a parent’s credit card number and email address are required for a child to register. A fee is charged to join because the sites are free of advertising. Conversations or chats are supervised by real-time, online monitors and screened with word filters. Parents may also request scripts of the dialogues and set controls on the buddy list.
Studies have shown that children who participate on social networks benefit with improved reading and writing skills. Some social networks even offer educational games and challenges where the users earn points to “buy” virtual items. Parents are pleased to see these kid-friendly websites because they are instructive tools that are also safe and fun.
Bower, Bruce. "Growing Up Online." Science News 17 June 2006: 376-378. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.
Gutner, Toddi. "MySpace for the Sandlot Set." Business Week 2 Oct. 2006: 82. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks
Kornblum, Janet. "Parents and the Web: Complete Dichotomy." USA Today 6 July 2006: p.07d. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.