I’d rather play phone "Tag"
The uber-popular site among my nine-eleven year olds is apparently ‘Tagged‘–a social networking site for teens and those who wish to advertise to them. According to the local expert who was on hand today (I think he’s actually twelve, maybe) it’s to exchange messages with friends and meet people but if you bother strangers you can get thrown off of the site.
It looks like another version of myspace–at least from the screenshots I’ve inadvertently caught whilst strolling behind the screens to ensure some level of quiet computer usage. The kids like to be vulgar in their messages and are amazingly shy about an adult seeing the curses on screen that would get them removed from the building for the day if used out loud.
The site doesn’t appear to be extremely restrictive or careful about those who sign up to use it. They list a requirement that participants be 13 to use the site but doesn’t list a top age–it didn’t kick me out when I went through the registration process using my actual date of birth and I’m well past the teenage years. Parents who discover their children using the site with a false age can request that the account be shut down.
If it’s focused on being a teen site–which it purports to be–why can someone over 21 sign up? It doesn’t seem to have the marketshare of MySpace or FaceBook. A part of me is trying to figure out how to introduce these kids to the idea of safer online presences and the rest of me is trying not to chuckle when they attempt to get each other into trouble by saying “Miss Hedgie–Stephen (or Frank or Juan or Shaquell) just sent me a message and he used a curse word…”