While Facebook continues to stew over whether or not to allow access to kids under 13
(even though we all know tons of kids under 13 on Facebook), another site is gaining momentum in that age bracket. It's called Everloop, and the founder, Hilary DeCesare, has created a fun, safe, online experience where kids can connect in tons of different ways.
Everloop is a free, online social media experience for kids under 13. If you're familiar with Facebook, Everloop is different. Instead of engaging with people based on real-life connections, with Everloop, kids engage and connect based on interests. These interests can be anything from music styles to games, and kids create "loops" that represent their interests. Currently, there are over 200,000 kids and over 75,000 parents with Everloop accounts.
A Priority On Safety
Everloop was founded on the tension between kids' desire to be online, and parents' desire to keep kids safe
. Parents have struggled to keep up with technology changes, and, unfortunately, many have checked out and have no idea what their kids are doing online. Everloop is grounded in the promise of safety to parents. They go to great lengths to make sure your kids are safe. For example, no one over 15 is allowed on the site, except as a parent administrator, so it really is a place for kids to be around other kids. However, they do have a great parent portal where you can monitor your child's activities, and make sure what they're sharing and doing is within the boundaries established in your home. You can see what they're doing, you just can't have your own account in the kids area.
Kids get to setup their own "loops" and can have a ton of fun doing it. There is so much customization available to them, they can make their loop their own. The games are top notch, and include things like shooting, racing and motorcycles. They also have an entire fashion game section, for the diva in your house. They also have educational games so kids can brush up on some academic skills while they're on. Fun is a priority on Everloop.
Music And Videos
One of the new favorite family activities is to watch funny Youtube videos. Well, Everloop has included this as an option for kids. There are tons of videos for kids to watch and share, and they can upload their own videos as well. The same is true with music on Everloop. Kids can upload and share their favorite music, and their "loops" allow them to be exposed to different music genres and styles. Of course, each video and song has to be approved by Everloop staff before it is allowed to be used on the site. Safety, and lack of profanity, is always a priority.
What good would a social networking site be without the ability to post pictures? Everloop has this nailed down as well. Kids can upload their pictures, and there are some really fun editing features they can use as well to make their pictures look crazy and fun. With the ability to upload, enhance and share their photos, kids will have fun being themselves with their online friends.
Kids Under 10
A word of caution for parents of kids under 10. Make sure you still monitor your kids' time on the site. There are still opportunities for people to post things that may not be blatantly inappropriate, but might be against what you're teaching your children at that time in their life. While I'm excited about the things Everloop offers for my kids, I am still very protective of their time online, including with Everloop. This will vary from family to family, but you probably want to help your kids under 10 get acclimated to the site, and help them create their own experience.
So Much More
There are so many features that the folks at Everloop
have thought of, you'll just have to check it out for yourself. I love their attention to detail when it comes to safety. I love that it's a "kids only" format (with parental monitoring standard). I love that it's tons of fun, and allows kids to be creative, connect, and enjoy the fun of being online without the typical concerns of a social network site.