Kidswirl makes Web surfing safe for kids

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With the ever-growing craze to get on Facebook, kids under the age of 13 are falsifying their age to be able to join the global social network.

Parents are becoming more wary about this trend, as their kids’ information can easily be accessed if not properly protected. So what can parents do to stop kids from joining Facebook?

This is where Toby Clark comes in. He is the creator of a new social network called Kidswirl, which puts the controls in the hands of the parents as opposed to the children. First, parents and their children can create a profile on this site. Then, anything that the kids do must go through this account. The parents have complete control over what the child can see, participate in, even who can be his friend.

What makes this site so appealing to parents is that this site endorses child safety, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, concerns of parents. This site automatically censors any inappropriate phrases and images that appear, preserving their child’s innocence. Also, the majority of Kidswirl users are on less than I know most of us would not set up an account on this site, for those reasons, but the concept is perfectly sound and we can let our future children use this site to acclimate themselves into Facebook.

Despite the idea of a child-safe Facebook, the fact that such a site exists means that there must be a lot of kids under the age requirement for Facebook on Facebook. This is pretty scary. I mean, if five-year-olds have accounts on Kidswirl, wouldn’t that mean at least one has a Facebook? That scares me. If parents do not monitor those accounts, then who knows what those kids might do.

Social networking sites are the most revolution idea of this decade, but it comes with a price. Nothing is private as it used to be. Everyone can find anything about you if you give them permission to be your friend. There are those people who will try to use that information against you, such as sexual predators. What makes issues worse is that if kids do not know how to protect their information, then that makes all kids susceptible to people who want to harm them. Sites like Kidswirl are needed to protect our kids. Without safeguards, bad things can happen to kids who are not ready to bear the responsibilities of Facebook.

Brian Manderscheid is a freshman engineering major. He can be reached for comment at bmandersch@smu.edu.

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