Internet Safety for tweens

Keeping my kids safe online is something I think about a lot.  With teen/tween boys I am aware of the temptations and predatory dangers lurking online.  We have taken some precautionary measures, such as putting the computer in the family room.  My thirteen (almost fourteen *sigh*) year old has a facebook page but I have the password and all the alerts come to my email.  We keep the computer locked with a password so the kids can’t be online when we aren’t home. 

But, they are still at risk.  Some of the kids on Facebook post some incredibly inappropriate things.  Pictures that make me cringe.  Disrespectful things about their parents.  It is sad.

Recently, Mom Central asked if I would like to test drive the Yoursphere program.  I was immediately interested because Yoursphere is a site, designed for teens/tweens and designed to keep them safe online while still allowing them the social aspect of popular sites like Facebook.

Mary Kay Hoal, a parent herself, founded Yoursphere in response to the need for a safe site for kids to peruse while online.  Here is part of her story:

Yoursphere was founded by Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five and a successful corporate media entrepreneur who became concerned about the safety of her children when they wanted to join social networking sites.

Immersing herself in the world of online social networking, Mary Kay saw firsthand the disturbingly coarse culture and very real dangers present for youth. It was (and still is) all right there: Adult strangers ogling and soliciting preteen girls for sex, porn aimed directly at youth, bullying, and vicious harassment committed by users hiding behind fake profiles. (At this time it was also revealed that one site harbored an astonishing 29,000 registered sex offenders). And all of it with apparently no oversight. As a result, Mary Kay resisted allowing her children to create profiles on the world’s largest networking site.

“I wouldn’t invite 29,000 registered sex offenders into our house,” she told her children, “so why would I let that happen online?”

The answer: She wouldn’t.

Knowing firsthand that today’s youth are, above all, each unique, with different interests and talents, Mary Kay set out to build a pioneering social networking site. An encouraging community that would celebrate and support young people for who they are, in the safest online environment possible. A smarter and warmer place, one she would readily allow her own children to join. A place all our kids deserve. Yoursphere.

Based in Davis, CA, Yoursphere launched in August 2008.

Since we joined Yoursphere last week my kids have been slowly building their profiles and adding their friends.  They like the ability to personalize their profile.  I like all the resources and safeguards available to parents.  Mary Kay also writes a blog for parents on internet safety that has proven to be a valuable resource to me. 

I am very pleased with the site so far and look forward to discovering more about it over the next few months, as a test drive mom for the program.

You can activate your child’s membership to Yoursphere for free.  I encourage you to check it out and see if this site would be a safe and fun alternative for your teen/tween.  When you sign up be sure to use this promo code: YSMC-0054.  And, I would love to hear what you think of the site (good and bad) so I can take that feedback to the founders of the site for their information.

Raising teens/tweens in this age of technology is challenging. I am grateful for any resource that makes protecting my kids easier!

How do you handle internet safety in your home? 

And, as always if you have a post about parenting teens/tweens please feel free to link it up below!

 

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Smallwood and Melissa Smallwood, Rob Babiak. Rob Babiak said: RT @multitaskingme: How do you handle internet safety and teens/tweens? http://bit.ly/9BdzYm […]

  2. […] Summit made me even more impressed with YourSphere, the site I have mentioned before and the work that founder, Mary Kay Hoal, is doing to protect children on […]

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