Getting Togetherville: Social Networking for Kids

Facebooking for the younger set

If you have kids, you know that they're tempted to jump onto Facebook at a very early age. It's one of those things young people learn about as soon as you expose them to the 'net:  "Can I Facebook?" is already a plea from my 5-year-old. But what does a parent do in this age of Internet everywhere, and the security concerns that come with it?

A Silicon Valley startup has an answer. "Togetherville" is a social network aimed directly at kids.  Specifically, kids ages 6-10. As it happens, Togetherville cofounder and CEO Mandeep Singh Dhillon, who started the company, was able to use his own young son as a test model. The site doesn't want to let the kids run free online. Instead, it wants to bring kids and their parents together to share the Internet experience.

Facebook even plays a role here. Togetherville, while believing that kids that age are still too young for Facebook, lets parents use their "friends" as a base for building their child's account. They recognize that adults already have personal relationships with adults who have kids; now, those kids (supervised by their parents) can gather, too.

Why can't this just be done on Facebook itself?  Togetherville says it stresses safety, and the page is full of activities strictly for young people: Games, videos, artwork, etc., all aimed at kids who might get lost in the giant-sized department store that is Facebook.

If you have kids, check it out. It just launched with a splash, and who knows? This may be just the entre parents are looking for when it comes to helping their kids get 'net-savvy, while also keeping their kids 'net-safe.

Scott wants to know what you think.You can reach him on Twitter: @scottbudman

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