A few months ago when I was offered the opportunity to write about YourSphere (a social network geared towards tweens & teens), I thought my boys would be excited about this online presence. They played games online, and a good portion of their schooling last year was completed in an online portal. I was interested to learn more about the site, and see what my boys thought.
I presented the site to them, and they were interested and thought it was fun to set up their profiles. They recognized that it was similar to Facebook (where they knew Mom spent some of her online time.) They played around in it, and had fun with the games.
I encouraged them to explore, and they did. They didn't see the appeal of becoming friends with strangers, and I admit that I was a bit relieved at that. (You can see my past posts here!)
They completed their school year, and Colin's netbook had a hard disk failure. Even though we have multiple computers available, once they were done with their school year, they spent more time playing outdoors and creating things than playing in online worlds.
I didn't want to discourage this type of play -- especially to encourage them to sit in front of a screen for more time. In the last couple months, they haven't asked to spend any time online at all. They have been engrossed in the Percy Jackson novels, sorting a million Legos, and drawing their own comic books.
Perhaps my boys are a bit young for YourSphere (ages 8 & 9). I think it's a great site to allow tweens and teens to explore social networks without the worries of adults and privacy concerns. I strongly believe in giving kids the tools to navigate the online world, but I'm also perfectly happy that my boys have little interest in that world right now. There's plenty of time for that!
If your kids are interested in spending time online with a social network aimed at kids, please check out YourSphere. I think you'll be surprised at the amount of stuff that's there -- especially the things created by kids, for kids. I think it's a great site, and when my boys show an interest in the future, we'll be back to check it out again. You can use our unique referral code -- YSMC-0057 -- if you choose to sign up.
*Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review.*