Social networking is definitely not limited to adults. As you can see, there is a wide variety of sites that are geared towards our youth and while the idea is to get kids participation by playing games, it is already setting the foundation for the next generation of social media users.
If you know of a site that your kids participate on that is not listed here, please leave a comment as this list will be updated throughout the year.
Must be at least 16 years of age:
Friendster PR 4 Online community connecting friends
Must be at least 14 years of age:
MySpace PR 8 A Place For Friends
Must be at least 13 years of age & in high school:
Facebook PR 8 Social Utility that connect people with those around them
Must be at least 13 years of age:
Hi 5 PR 6 Who’s in?
Xanga PR 7 A weblog community
IMVU PR 6 Chat with friends in 3D
There PR 6 Online virtual world
Chamber of Chat PR 6 Harry Potter online role playing game
Second Life PR 8 3D Virtual World
Runescape PR 6 Online adventure community
Pownce PR 7 Create a network of friends and share files, links & events
Jaiku PR 6 Share your activities
Tickle PR 5 Social networking through personal development
43 Things PR 7 Microblogging site to share with community
Bebo PR 7 Social network for sharing and entertainment
Gaia Online PR 6 Virtual community with games, message boards & economy
vSide PR 6 Virtual music community
Windows Live Spaces PR 7 Community of friends for sharing and blogging
No Age minimum but must have parents approval:
Imbee PR 6 Social Networking designed for kids 8-12
Active Worlds PR 6 3D virtual world chat
Boom Bang PR 4 Chat, make friends and explore a virtual world
Dofus PR 6 Mulit player online role playing game
Awol PR 3 Chats, games, diary, friends, & cribs
Sanriotown PR 6 Hello Kitty games, community, blogs and forums
Webkinz PR 6 Virtual pet community for plush pets
Club Penguin PR 6 Virtual world for kids
Marapets PR 3 Virtual pet site with games and chat community
Shining Stars PR 5 Chatting, naming stars and virtual star worlds
Neopets PR 6 Virtual world for pets
Endless Online PR 4 Community role playing games
Eternal Lands PR 5 Community role playing games
Furcadia PR 5 Community role playing game
Graal Online PR 5 Community role playing games
Guild Wars PR 6 Community role playing games
Hero Online PR 4 Community warfare games
Millsberry PR 4 Home building community
There are hundreds more of the community role playing sites for kids, they are all very much the same so I decided not to list them all here. These types of games are not may favorite nor are they the “best” as far as networking sites for kids goes. However, they do allow certain features such as chats and interactive situations with other kids online. You can see a larger list of these Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game (MMORPGs) here.
The important thing to remember when it comes to kids and social media is that parents should always have a very good idea of the games, people and sites their children are involved in, no matter how old the child is. The terms and conditions of these sites are set for a reason, abuse of them only creates problems. I’m also a firm believer in having access to all passwords for my kids accounts. Kids will argue about the invasion of privacy but let’s face it, their privacy is not nearly as important as their safety.
For more information on just how radically the internet is transforming the experience of childhood, check out Growing Up Online by Frontline. Frontline has created a great conversation by taking families into the very public and private worlds that are being created online. They are raising important questions and giving parents a chance to talk.