This is possibly my third attempt at a blog now. I've always promised myself I'll keep on top of them & up-to-date but it's never happened, so I'm starting again! Anyway my name is Liz, I'm 22 years old, still living at home with my two dogs & my cat (my babies). I'm engaged & have been in a relationship for 5 years but sadly we can't afford a place of our own yet. I've just started working for an under 18's social networking site called GreatBritishKids.com which has made me think about kids (particularly those under 13 that have lied about their age to get an account) using sites such as Facebook & Bebo.
I'm finding it a bit disturbing at the amount of kids (even ones I know of!) that are using sites like these. I know parents can look at their kid's profile etc but are they really that safe? I suppose I can't really blame the parents though, I know there is a lot of peer pressure on kids to “fit in” with their school friends and act more grown up and I guess that some parents may not even know their kids have an account if they're not very computer literate. They may even think that their child could be perfectly safe as long as their account is checked every so often, however I know from personal experience that if a child wants to hide something, delete messages, change passwords etc then they know exactly how to do it.
After doing a little bit of personal research (with the help of my nieces & nephew!) I've found that the only other sites I think are appropriate for under 18's have quite a few drawbacks too, so maybe this is why they have resorted to using Facebook.
As I've mentioned above though, the website I'm currently working for is a FREE social networking site for under 18s. It has a more grown up appearance and it is much safer as the site is monitored closely and you can only get full access to the site if you have been verified. Members can be verified by an appointed member of staff that has been CRB checked in a school or club e.g. Guides or football club, or via webcam video verification by a GBK Cyber Security Officer so even if someone lied about their age to get access into the site, they wouldn't be able to communicate with other members until we confirm they are who they say they are. There are a load of other benefits to the website but I don't want this to sound like I'm selling it, I'm just very excited about my new job. For anyone reading this that may be interested in this site, you can visit www.greabritishkids.com or have a look at this article to get a bit more information: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/pontypridd-llantrisant/2011/03/31/dad-sets-up-safe-social-networking-site-for-children-91466-28425624/
I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of greatbritishkids.com and what other sites your children use so I can try and do a little more research on them & how they compare to GBK site, and then I’ll repost my findings in the near future. I look forward to hearing any opinions or thoughts you may have. Thanks for taking the time to read my post too!