when you do the math, togetherville still leaves a gap

I think I had heard of this new little social media site called Togetherville, but when I saw this on the Orange Leaders blog today it peaked my curiosity. Togetherville.com is a site where the “pre-Facebook crowd and their grownups” build an online community out of real world relationships. The adults connect through Facebook, but the kids never interact with the Facebook side. This allows the grownups to leverage the information they have access to while keeping kids safe. The video below hits some highlights about this beta site.

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

It’s an intriguing concept, and I hope it takes off. But here’s my quandary. Togetherville is listed as being for kids under age 10 and their grownups. Rightly so. It looks like most of the options are the types of things I see kids up to about 4th or 5th grade looking to do online anyway: play simple games, view funny (but parent-approved) videos, have conversation with friends. In short, learning the skills for becoming a good “digital citizen.”

It’s a huge leap from that type of setup to the free-for-all (by comparison) that is Facebook. I don’t know that I would be able to support shifting the minimum age for Facebook below the current 13. (Consider that FB started as a gathering place only for college students only.) Many kids I know younger than 13 – that really shouldn’t have Facebook to begin with – are mostly interested in playing games like Farmville or answering goofy survey questions anyway. Not unlike what Togetherville tries to facilitate. But what 12 year old wants to sit at the kids’ table when all their friends are sneaking into the grownup party?

I’m not sure what the solution is. We’ll see how Togetherville does with the younger kids. Its genius is in making the adults an integral part of kids’ online experience. What can be created, or adapted, to take the training wheels off without thrusting young adolescents into the freeway? Would love your thoughts.

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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  • http://www.orangeleaders.com Cara Martens

    I had the same thought about Together-ville– that it leaves a gap. In fact, the gap that’s left might be the ones most wanting a seat “at the adult table” and not the six year olds for sure. I have a 5 and a 7 year old– they like to look at videos (I approve) and even peek at faces of people we all know on Facebook- but they aren’t begging for their own account. They are pretty happy with all the Disney-esque sites aimed at them– all the Happy Meal toys with codes. So is this really necessary for the targeted age group? One reviewer said they didn’t need it, they are growing up digital natives and would figure it out when needed without any practice. And an older son of a reviewer actually said that limiting his responses– they have to choose quips or get permission by a moderator to make another comment– made it seem like adults didn’t think they could think of their own. So in that way it doesn’t really get them a chance to stretch their wings– I guess that’s the training wheel part of this site? Thanks for continuing the conversation. This might be worth revisiting later when we see how it goes. Glad for your thoughts!

  • http://www.orangeleaders.com Cara Martens

    I had the same thought about Together-ville– that it leaves a gap. In fact, the gap that’s left might be the ones most wanting a seat “at the adult table” and not the six year olds for sure. I have a 5 and a 7 year old– they like to look at videos (I approve) and even peek at faces of people we all know on Facebook- but they aren’t begging for their own account. They are pretty happy with all the Disney-esque sites aimed at them– all the Happy Meal toys with codes. So is this really necessary for the targeted age group? One reviewer said they didn’t need it, they are growing up digital natives and would figure it out when needed without any practice. And an older son of a reviewer actually said that limiting his responses– they have to choose quips or get permission by a moderator to make another comment– made it seem like adults didn’t think they could think of their own. So in that way it doesn’t really get them a chance to stretch their wings– I guess that’s the training wheel part of this site? Thanks for continuing the conversation. This might be worth revisiting later when we see how it goes. Glad for your thoughts!