Tired of being told you’re not old enough for Facebook? Wish you could be like your older brothers and sisters and chat with your friends online? Well you’re in luck, there’s a new social netw orking site out in the World Wide Web that is designed to help.
Scuttlepad.com describes itself as ‘a fun, safe, online community for kids’ and is basically a more child-friendly version of Facebook. It is designed for kids aged between 6 and 11 but still allows you to join if you are a little bit older. Scuttlepad is extremely child-friendly with a range of special precautions to make sure that your privacy is not compromised. The first thing I noticed is that when you sign up, it doesn’t ask for your last name; just your first one. While this precaution ensures as little personal information is given out as possible, it also makes it difficult to find your friends, as with Scuttlepad boasting a worldwide audience it could begin to become difficult to find friends with common names like ‘Sam’ as the site continues to gain new members.
When you first sign up to Scuttlepad, the site asks you to give your parents’ email address. It then sends them an email asking them to verify your account and confirm that you have their permission to use it. It also sends occasional emails with tips and tricks on navigating the interface and getting the most from the website.
If you want, you can let the Scuttlepad universe know what’s going on in your world. But you have to fit it into three words or less, using only words provided in the predefined lists, which can be very limiting.
Scuttlepad also allows you to upload photos, but they are all manually checked by website operators to make sure no explicit or privacy-compromising photos are posted. Once you have photos on your account that have been approved by Scuttlepad staff, anyone can look them up and post comments. Once again there are predefined word lists, except this time you only get one adjective to express yourself.
Just like on Facebook, you can meet new people online by sending a friend request. This way you can keep in contact with each other and view each other’s photos and comments quick and easily. Of course if you meet someone from another country whom you wish to keep in contact with, you can’t swap email addresses or phone numbers because the word lists don’t allow it. This is another safety feature that is putting a damper on the potential fun you can have while online.
While Scuttlepad seems to be the Facebook for young ones, I can’t help but notice some key features missing from Scuttlepad that Facebook has. With Facebook you can do a lot more: you can create groups, tag pictures and participate in a variety of online games, to name a few. As Scuttlepad grows and gains a larger audience, hopefully some of these features will be added.